Sex offenders to be tracked by GPS

Satellite tracking of almost 70 sex offenders will start in Queensland next week.

Police and Corrective Services Minister Neil Roberts hopes all offenders will be fitted with the new technology by the beginning of 2012.

Each device, using GPS technology, will cost more than $200,000 per offender.

Abakus Elmotech Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of 3M was awarded the contract to supply the tracking devices.

“Abakus Elmotech was selected following a rigorous procurement process to ensure the technology to be used in Queensland was the most up to date available,” Mr Roberts told Parliament this month.

The $13.7 million allocated to the implementation of the devices would be also used to employ more monitoring staff, enabling a 24-hour surveillance service.

Child protection advocacy organistion Bravehearts praised the introduction of the devices but insisted investment also had to be made in a range of preventative measures.

Bravehearts researcher and criminologist Carol Ronkin said although the system would let authorities track an offender, she questioned its ability to stop an offender who wanted to re-offend.

“What we know about the GPS system is that it has the potential to increase safety through increased capacity to monitor offenders’ movements, but it needs to be utilised as part of a suite of management options,” Ms Ronkin said.

“We need to invest in management and treatment programs for offenders and…ensure that they remain in detention, or even a treatment centre, until such time as that risk is at a level that can be managed safely in the community.”

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