STATEHOUSE (April 11, 2017) – Senate Bill 38 passed the Indiana Senate by a vote of 39-7 today. Authored by State Sen. Joe Zakas (R-Granger), the bill would require sex offenders who are released from prison on lifetime parole to wear a GPS monitoring device, subject to a risk assessment test. Zakas also pushed to increase the number of available GPS monitoring devices in the state budget recently passed by the State Senate.
“Hoosiers have a right to be safe in their own homes and communities,” Zakas said. “This bill aims at tracking the worst offenders in order to increase public safety.”
In addition, the bill would require the Parole Board to report to the sheriff and prosecuting attorney, in the county where the crime was originally committed, whenever an offender has been placed on lifetime parole and whether the wearing of a GPS monitoring device is required.
Further, under SB 38, anyone who violates their parole by having direct or indirect contact with an individual under the age of 16 or with the victim of their original crime commits a Level 6 felony. The bill would also prohibit a sex or violent offender from expunging their criminal record if their crime is lowered from a felony offense to a misdemeanor.
“Senate Bill 38 should improve oversight of sex offenders,” said David N. Powell, Executive Director of the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council. “It also prevents a sex offender from expunging a misdemeanor offense. Closing that loophole is important for public safety.”
The bill will now go to the governor for his consideration. “I hope Governor Holcomb will support the bill and sign it into law,” Zakas stated. “It improves oversight of some serious offenders.”
Zakas represents District 11 in the Indiana Senate, which includes portions of St. Joseph and Elkhart counties.
Click here for a high-resolution picture of Zakas.
Natalie Russell, Press Secretary
Danielle Wheat, Press Secretary Intern