We hate to say we told you so. But we told you so. A key portion of the "Jessica's Law" ballot measure that an astounding 70% of California voters backed a year ago may never be put into effect. Times staff writer Michael Rothfeld reported Tuesday that state and local officials are each expecting the other to foot the very big bill to monitor global positioning satellite data to track thousands of released sex offenders. Forever.
Other details no one seems to have thought about much when sending Proposition 83 to last November's ballot include how to penalize released offenders who cut the GPS signaling devices from their ankles; no such penalties were mandated by the initiative. Or how to train police and sheriff's deputies to track the movements of offenders through their jurisdictions, in addition to their regular public safety tasks.
The tough-on-crime lobby made the initiative sound so simple: Do you want to protect California's children from 65,000 sex offenders or don't you? Of course you do. So it appealed directly to the emotions of people who revile those who rape and sexually abuse children: Increase the offenders' sentences. After their time is served, restrict where they can live. And track their movements for life by using the power of new technologies.