Civil rights group challenges law requiring GPS monitoring for life
Raleigh, North Carolina – – – The National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws—NARSOL—announces the launching of an important case in Wisconsin. Antrim v. Carr has been granted status as a class action suit in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. This suit challenges Wisconsin’s statutory scheme requiring that certain individuals convicted of sexual offenses be forced to wear a GPS monitoring device for life, even after they are off of any criminal supervision.
Brenda Jones, NARSOL’S executive director, spoke as to why NARSOL has chosen to become involved with this case. “The key is in our name,” she said. “We support rational laws. Rational laws work. They address correction and justice in ways that provide safety for our communities. This Wisconsin law fails to do that, and NARSOL is proud to support the testimony of two experts who can speak to this.”
Kate Weisburd is a law professor at George Washington University School of Law and one of the leading scholars concerning the effect of surveillance technology on justice-involved individuals. She is the author of a seminal law review article, “Punitive Surveillance,” 108 Va. L. Rev. 148, (2022). Her report forcefully details the ways in which GPS technology negatively impacts the lives of individuals forced to wear the devices, interfering crucially with their progress toward rehabilitation and community integration.
Dr. Kelley Socia is Professor in the School of Criminology and Justice Studies and a Fellow for the Center for Public Opinion at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. Dr. Socia’s expert report makes three conclusions: (1) Wisconsin’s policy of automatically placing individuals on lifetime GPS monitoring based solely on whether they have been convicted of sexual offenses more than once is unreasonable, ineffective and wasteful; (2) There is little support for the use of GPS tracking as a means of reducing sexual recidivism; and (3) Mandating GPS tracking for 20 years or longer, especially when the policy is applied without incorporating any risk assessment, represents an immense waste of resources with no discernable public safety benefits.
“We thank both of these scholars for their expertise and their work in producing these reports,” said NARSOL board chairman Robin Vanderwall. “We are excited about this case and look forward to bringing more challenges against laws that are counter-productive to public safety.”
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