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TribBlog: Perry Proposes Tougher Laws For Sex Offenders

Three years after passing some of the toughest sex offender laws in the nation, Gov. Rick Perry is pitching another effort to crack down on sexual predators.

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At a press conference in Houston today, Gov. Rick Perry proposed even tougher laws against sex offenders in Texas. "These steps will help ensure that sexual predators pay the price for their crimes and do not have the freedom to destroy lives again,” he said in a press statement.

Texas is notorious for its tough-on-crime approach, especially for sex offenses. Lawmakers passed a law in 2007 that allowed the death penalty for certain repeat child sex offenders. But the U.S. Supreme Court overturned that provision in 2008.

In this latest effort to crack down on sex offenders, Perry says he wants special teams to arrest sex offenders who violate their probation and electronic monitoring of high-risk sex offenders. Here's the whole list of initiatives Perry proposed today:

  • 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.

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