Sat, Sep 24, 2005 - Page 2 News List

MOJ monitors paroled sex offenders

STAFF WRITER

An officer places a call to a paroled sex offender via surveillance equipment installed in the offender's Taoyuan home in order to check-up on the man.

PHOTO: LEE HSIN-HUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

In an effort to reduce the chances that serial sex offenders might commit crimes again, the Ministry of Justice is installing surveillance equipment at parolees' homes to monitor their conduct on a test basis, it was reported yesterday.

The Taoyuan District Prosecutors' Office installed surveillance cameras and telephones at the residences of two paroled sex offenders on Sept. 7. Cameras were installed in the living rooms and bedrooms, so that police can monitor the men's actions -- especially at night.

Officials believe that both men have a high potential for recidivism. The pair have a curfew, and they have to stay either in their living room or bedroom between 8pm and 7am, because most sexual crimes are committed at night.

However, they are free to leave their homes at other times.

They are also not allowed to go to the bathroom for more than 10 minutes at a time.

The judicial police of the prosecutors' office are responsible for monitoring the two men.

If they cannot see the two offenders from their monitors, officers must telephone the men and tell them to stand in front of one of the cameras.

If a parolee leaves his house after curfew, he has to immediately inform the local sexual crime prevention center and the local police station. Police officers must then inspect the parolee's home.

According to prosecutors, since those being monitored are on probation, it is the prosecutors' office's responsibility to watch over them, so the ministry's new method does not violate their human rights.

The ministry is also planning to purchase electronic shackles to use on offenders with a high potential for recidivism.

Officials say such equipment is a more efficient way of monitoring parolees.

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