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Originally published Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Sex offenders get tracking bracelets

The state Department of Corrections announced Wednesday that all of the state's most violent sex offenders will be required to wear tracking bracelets upon their release from prison.

Seattle Times staff reporter

The state Department of Corrections is now requiring all of the state's most violent sex offenders to wear tracking bracelets for at least a month after they're released from prison.

The move comes a year after corrections officials started testing GPS monitoring bracelets on a handful of Level 3 sex offenders, considered to be the most dangerous and most likely to reoffend.

Two weeks ago, 89 Level 3 offenders across the state were wearing the ankle bracelets. Corrections spokesman Chad Lewis said that Wednesday's announcement means that nearly 200 offenders could be on GPS monitoring at any given time.

Starting Wednesday, all Level 3 sex offenders will be required to wear GPS tracking bracelets for the first month after their release from prison, according to the Department of Corrections (DOC).

Offenders who are homeless or unemployed or who fail to meet the criteria set forth by their community-corrections officers could remain in the tracking program beyond one month, DOC officials said.

"We only expand programs that we believe help improve public safety," DOC Secretary Eldon Vail said in a news release. "These GPS locaters give our officers another tool to supervise the highest-risk sex offenders."

Annmarie Aylaward, who oversees the GPS-monitoring program for DOC, said the department has found that the first 30 days within an offender's release is when they are most likely to violate conditions of their supervision.

The tracking program was announced last year after 12-year-old Zina Linnik, of Tacoma, was abducted and killed by convicted sex offender Terapon Adhahn. Adhahn was sentenced to life in prison without parole earlier this year.

Over the past year more than 200 sex offenders have been placed in the GPS-monitoring program at one time or another, DOC officials said.

While DOC has seen successes with GPS monitoring, some offenders have discarded or failed to charge the devices, which cost $1,500 to replace. If an offender discards or fails to charge the device, he or she now will face arrest by DOC.

In addition to the GPS-monitoring bracelet, offenders are given a locator box, which tracks the GPS signal and can receive text messages from DOC staff members.

Offenders are told to keep the locator box charged. If the battery runs out or the offender strays more than 150 feet from the locator box, the offender's tracking device beeps; community-corrections staff members also receive an e-mail update each day, DOC officials said.

Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this report. Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or jensullivan@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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