NJ Can’t Watch All Megan’s Law Offenders [AUDIO]
Dangerous sex offenders registered under Megan’s Law are required to notify New Jersey authorities when they move, so that those offenders can be monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Yet there is a variable that the state has never taken into account: What if the sex offender is homeless?
A pair of state lawmakers has introduced legislation to address that loophole.
“If Megan’s Law is going to be truly enacted, we need to be able to track every person who should be tracked, and that includes the homeless and the displaced,” said Assemblyman Dave Rible (R-Wall). “I don’t think there was much thought process put into people who are homeless (or) displaced when Megan’s Law was first enacted.”
The measure, co-sponsored by Rible and Mary Pat Angelini (R-Ocean), would require satellite-based monitoring of homeless, registered sex offenders. Rible said because of Superstorm Sandy and an awful economy, many people are homeless — and some of them have committed sex crimes.
“It’s just fixing what really wasn’t codified with the original Megan’s Law, so it’s really just covering more bases,” Rible said.
It is unclear at this point how much Global Satellite Positioning, or GPS, monitoring would cost the state. Rible said that will be worked out in collaboration with the state Attorney General’s office.
If the bill is signed into law, anyone monitored under the program who knowingly fails to comply with its requirements, or knowingly tampers with tracking equipment in order to render it ineffective, would be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree. That means they could be sentenced to up to 18 months in jail, fined up to $10,000, or both.