Miss. lawmakers turn to GPS tracking devices for sex offenders

(WMC-TV) – Mississippi state lawmakers want to make sure children are safe when it comes to registered sex offenders. And they are turning to GPS tracking devices. Lawmakers say it protects families and changes how Mississippi's justice system operates.

Lawmakers say it is up to sex offenders to comply with registration laws. They are required to register every 90 days and have a picture taken. But if they do not, it ultimately can cost state government millions in man hours and resources to track them down.

The new legislation would feature a grading system that ranks the offenders on their dangerousness to society. The most serious would be required to wear one of the GPS devices for life.

"If you leave your restricted area, it could notify police," said Sen. Will Longwitz. "If you approach a school, it could set off an alarm. If you approach your former victim's family's neighborhood, it could set off an alarm."

Officials say the cost of the devices would be paid by the offenders. The legislation would also require sex offenders to send written notifications to neighbors once they moved into the area.

There are more than a dozen states that already have similar legislation in place, including right here in Tennessee. The measure is expected to be introduced during Mississippi's 2013 legislative session.

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