Laws to Track Sex Offenders Lack Funding

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In the wake of the rape and murder of a San Diego teenager, people are again asking why we can't do a better job tracking sex offenders.

Law enforcement officials say the laws are there. The resources are not.

You can find if you're living near one the Reno area's registered sex offenders on line. Beside each name a picture and address. Each of the men was convicted of a felony sexual crime and are considered a potential threat to reoffend. All of this is required by what's known as Megan's Law.

But registration and monitoring may not have protected, the San Diego teenager, 17 year old Chelsea King. John Gardner, the man accused of her murder was a convicted sex offender and case, reportedly was in full compliance with the laws that followed him after his release.

Four years ago, 16 year old Holly Quick was brutally raped and murdered in her Sparks home. Like Gardner, her attacker, Tamir Hamilton, was also a convicted sex offender.

The same year Congress passed another law named for another young victim. The Adam Walsh Child Protection Act included a number of measures aimed at better tracking sex offenders or keeping them from the public altogether including tightened registration requirements, a national DNA registry and GPS tracking of the most dangerous offenders. What it didn't contain was the funding to put it into effect.

"It sounds good<" says Washoe County District Attorney Dick Gammick, "and there are a lot of good items in there, but unless you've got the funding....."

And Gammick says the problem only gets worse in tough economic times when there are calls for early releases from prison.

"It comes down to money. How much are we willing to spend as a society for that element of safety,"

As it stands, he says, there's no other solution. Counseling and alternative sentencing that may work with other crimes, he says, are ineffectual for this kind of crime.

"These people cannot be treated. There's no way of changing who they are. They need to go away and be kept out of society."

In an interview with John Walsh,host of America's Most Wanted, the president vowed to find funding for the law that bear's Walsh's son's name.

Tamir Hamilton's death sentence, by the way, was just upheld by the state supreme court.



 
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