Gov. Rick Perry today announced initiatives to increase the monitoring and punishment of the most dangerous sex offenders, building on the success of recent initiatives like the Texas Ten Most Wanted Sex Offender list. The governor was joined by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) for the announcement, which includes the formation of special teams to arrest sex offenders who have violated their parole; electronically monitoring high-risk sex offenders; and working with lawmakers to pass legislation allowing prosecutors to ensure longer prison sentences for certain sex offenders, and requiring active monitoring of sex offenders as part of their punishment or registration requirements.
"These initiatives will provide greater protections to our citizens by taking our efforts in dealing with sex offenders up yet another notch," Gov. Perry said. "These steps will help ensure that sexual predators pay the price for their crimes and do not have the freedom to destroy lives again."
The governor's initiatives include:
* The OAG, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) and local law enforcement will work together to create Sex Offender Parole Violation Apprehension Teams, which will arrest high-risk sex offenders who have violated parole. These teams will coordinate with local law enforcement to conduct additional registration compliance checks on predatory, high-risk sex offenders.
* A $1.7 million grant from the Governor's Criminal Justice Division (CJD) to help TDCJ actively monitor all high-risk sex offenders on parole with tracking technology.
* A pledge to work with lawmakers during the upcoming session to pass legislation allowing prosecutors to seek life without parole for repeat offenders convicted of sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault. While Jessica's Law provides this option to prosecutors for repeat predators of children, Gov. Perry is proposing it be expanded to include those who target adults. The governor also is proposing legislation requiring the active monitoring of high-risk sex offenders using tracking technology as part of the sex offender's sentence, and requiring all high-risk registered sex offenders who have served their entire prison sentence be actively monitored for three years upon release from prison
* Encouraging governors across the country to enter into reciprocal agreements on sex offender registration to prevent individuals from circumventing sex offender registration laws by moving from one state to another. The governor also tasked DPS with providing recommendations to the Legislature on how to close loopholes related to out-of-state sex offenders.
The Texas Ten Most Wanted Sex Offenders list, which identifies violent sex offenders who have either violated their parole or failed to comply with sex offender registration, has led to the capture of six of these dangerous fugitives since its introduction in July 2010. Rewards of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of a Texas Most Wanted Sex Offender are funded by CJD, with the support of the Texas Crime Stoppers Council and DPS.