High-risk child sex offenders freed into the community will be tracked by satellite within weeks, the Government will announce today.
Tracking using global positioning technology in ankle bracelets will begin in August – in time for the release of serial sex offender Stewart Murray Wilson, known as the Beast of Blenheim.
It will be a staged introduction, with about 11 child sex offenders monitored initially, rising to about 200 by 2013.
Corrections Minister Anne Tolley will announce the decision today. A law change is not necessary as existing legislation allows the department to use technology to monitor offenders.
Corrections Department officials were in Britain last week looking at the latest technology and are confident it is sophisticated enough to keep 24-hour tabs on those who it is thought are most likely to commit another crime.
A previous trial was abandoned last year as the technology was not as advanced.
Wilson, 65, is due to be freed on September 1 despite Parole Board fears he will reoffend almost immediately. The Probation Service has applied to the High Court for an extended supervision order.
He was sentenced to 21 years' prison in 1996 for offences spread over 25 years against 16 women and girls, including rape, child cruelty and bestiality.
A study of GPS monitoring of sex offenders in California recently found that the risk of committing a "sex offence-related violation" was three times greater for offenders who were not supervised using the system.
Mrs Tolley is also considering the introduction of a register for child sex offenders and the Government also plans public protection orders to keep the most dangerous offenders behind bars indefinitely.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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