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Lifetime GPS monitoring could follow sex crime conviction in SC

In South Carolina, people who have completed jail sentences may still have to take part in a GPS monitoring program outside of prison or jail. Some county jails have such programs, and so does the state's Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services.

While a GPS device might be ordered for a variety of offenses, most of the people who are electronically monitored have been convicted of sex crimes. This should remind people of how aggressively the state prosecutes sex crime charges.

Statistics from May 2013 showed that 616 people were being electronically monitored by the state at that time, and that number represents a 13-percent increase in tracked offenders since January 2011.

Seven years ago, South Carolina passed a law that allows for people to be tracked for the rest of their lives if they were convicted of a sex crime involving a minor. Those who are monitored by authorities have to wear GPS ankle bracelets.

The state has agents who monitor the whereabouts of offenders 24 hours a day and seven days a week. If an issue arises -- maybe the device's battery is low, or the offender hasn't checked in as required -- then agents will either call the offender or make a home visit. According to a report, agents in South Carolina average about 170 home visits per month.

To be sure, police and prosecutors take sex crimes very seriously. People who have been accused of such an offense will need an aggressive and strategic defense to protect against negative consequences.

Source: goupstate.com, "A look at how SC is using electronic monitoring," July 29, 2013

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