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W. Gardner Selby
By W. Gardner Selby November 23, 2012

Lawmakers did not approve GPS monitoring of certain sex offenders

In 2010, Gov. Rick Perry called for a law requiring the state to closely track "high-risk sex offenders” after their release from prison.

According to a Sept. 27, 2010, press release from his office, Perry proposed legislation requiring the monitoring of such offenders using tracking technology as part of each offender's sentence, and requiring all high-risk registered sex offenders who have served their prison sentence to be monitored for three years.

Asked about this promise, which we had yet to rate, Perry spokeswoman Catherine Frazier told us that legislation cleared the Texas House in 2011, but did not progress further.

By email, Frazier said that House Bill 3001 by state Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, which cleared the House in May 2011 before dying in a Senate committee, contained provisions for GPS monitoring of sex offenders.

The failed proposal would have required the Department of Public Safety to coordinate a monitoring system tracking the location of high-risk sex offenders released from prison by employing equipment, enabling a local police department to track, and periodically report to the state, the offender"s location. Ten years after being released from prison, a participant could petition to be exempted from the monitoring, the proposal said. It would have been a third-degree felony for an offender not to participate in the monitoring.

The first year of implementation was projected to cost more than $1.2 million. Also, according to the legislation"s fiscal note, the annual release of 192 high-risk sex offenders from prison into the program was projected to cost $3,781 per offender. Half the offenders would pay for their own monitoring, according to the fiscal note, but indigent offenders would not have been required to cover the costs.

We rate this as a Promise Broken.

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