A bill to monitor sex offenders using a GPS ankle monitor has passed the Judiciary A Committee of the Mississippi Senate. The bill now heads to the full senate for a vote.
Under current law, if a person is convicted of violating the sex offender registry, they can go to jail for up to five years. Under this bill, if they are released early, they will get a GPS ankle monitor that tracks them around-the-clock for the remainder of their sentence.
“If it were up to me, we would track every sex offender. We can’t,” Longwitz said. “But we can use GPS technology to put real teeth in our sex offender registry. If they decide to lie and live somewhere other than their registered address, we will convict them then monitor their every move.” At least sixteen other states use similar monitoring.
The bill also improves the system that notifies people of a sex offender’s presence in their area. Local governments will use email, social media and other electronic communication to inform their citizens when a sex offender has moved in. In addition, former victims and their families can get an alert when the offender is in their vicinity.
The bill was authored by Longwitz, and is co-authored by Senators Josh Harkins (Brandon), Sally Doty (Brookhaven) and Brice Wiggins (Ocean Springs), all Republicans.