SACRAMENTO (AP) — Thousands of California parolees, many of them sex offenders, are removing court-ordered GPS monitors, often with little risk of serving time because state prisons are too full to hold them, according to an investigation.
More than 3,400 arrest warrants for convicts who tampered with tracking devices have been issued since October 2011, when the state began referring parole violators to county jails instead of returning them to its overflowing prisons, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Nearly all of the warrants were for sex offenders, who are the vast majority of parolees with GPS monitors, and many were for repeat violations, the newspaper said.
“It’s a huge problem,” Fresno parole agent Matt Hill told the Times. “If the public knew, they’d be shocked.”
Before prison realignment took effect, sex offenders who violated parole remained behind bars, awaiting hearings that could send them back to prison for up to a year. Now, the maximum penalty is 180 days in jail, but many never serve that time.