Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Gov. Moonbeam, Satellites, and Parolees

By Robert Gammon
Tue, Mar 24, 2009 at 1:24 PM

We thought Jerry Brown shook off his "Governor Moonbeam" moniker years ago, but his latest idea to use satellite-based-positioning systems to track parolees might just bring it back into fashion. Brown's proposal came in response to last weekend's tragic killings, and at first blush, it sounded sort of cool, high-tech and all. But on closer examination, it looks like another politician grandstanding for the media. I mean, these GPS devices are to be placed on "dangerous" parolees, right? So, who's going to decide which parolees are dangerous, using what criteria? And even if we figure that one out, there are about 120,000 people currently on parole in California, so even if just 10 percent are deemed "dangerous," it means keeping keep track of 12,000 GPS devices. Who's going to do that? The already overburdened parole officers? Overtaxed police? And what's going to happen when parolees start removing the devices in droves? Who's going to have the time or resources to stop that?

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