In this week’s ‘You Ask, We Investigate’ report, Fox 24’s Katelynn Zoellner spoke with the Arkansas Community Correction about homeless sex offenders. You wanted to know how offenders who are homeless are tracked.
10 percent of registered sex offenders in the Natural State live in Northwest Arkansas. While some of them live in our neighborhoods, others are homeless.
“The reality is that residency is difficult for sex offenders to find in some circumstances,” said Jennifer Dean, area manager at Arkansas Community Correction. “That’s due to many places requiring background checks. Sex offenders are often displaced as a result.”
Arkansas Community Correction uses a Global Positioning System (GPS) to track the whereabouts of homeless sex offenders. Any offender who registers as homeless is immediately placed on GPS.
“We restrict their movement,” Dean said. “We put in restriction zones on their GPS, so we literally go into the system and say this person can not go within 2,000 or 5,000 feet of a school, park, day care, ballpark, a victim’s residence or place of employment.”
An offender is notified when they go somewhere they’re not authorized to be.
“Their GPS will start making beeping noises and telling them that they are getting too close to an area,” Dean said. “It also sends us a real time notification that they’re in violation and we can pick them up, because we know their whereabouts at the time.”
In addition to wearing a GPS, Dean said homeless sex offenders are required to register in person every 30 days during the period of time in which they’re required to register. They must also report where they’re living and that includes temporary domiciles. A domicile is any place that a sex offender resides at for five or more aggregate days in a calendar year.
If there’s something in your community that you want to know more about, we want to investigate it. You can send your questions to Katelynn at KZoellner@KNWA.com.