Let me begin by saying that this kind of monitoring is roughly equivalent to a "kinder, gentler" form of imprisonment, and may be appropriate in certain cases. I have no objection to the idea in theory, but I have some concerns about some of the the things said in the linked story:
At least four states — Florida, Missouri, Ohio and Oklahoma — passed laws this year requiring lifetime electronic monitoring for some sex offenders, even if their sentences would normally have expired.
(Bold added for emphasis.)
I'm no legal expert, but isn't this an ex post facto
The 'words and the intent' of the Ex Post Facto Clause encompass '[e]very law that changes the punishment, and inflicts a greater punishment, than the law annexed to the crime, when committed.' Calder v. Bull, 3 U.S. (1 Dall.) 386, 390 (1798) (opinion of Chase, J.).
If these new laws apply to people who have already been sentenced
, then I think we have a problem. If not, then it's just a way of making the punishment harsher, and that can be defended.
I think I agree with this (from the linked story):
GPS monitoring makes sense for a small group of high-risk offenders, evaluated case-by-case, said John La Fond (search), a law professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and author of the recently published book "Preventing Sexual Violence."
"A law that requires that everyone who has committed a crime against a young child should be subject to lifetime locator technology is simply foolish," La Fond said.
1. As I said, if it is not part of the law before the criminal was sentenced, it would be a violation. It might also be a violation if it is applied in a way which is out of proportion to the crime. Exposing oneself to a teenager, although a serious offense, should not be dealt with as harshly as raping a child.
2. I think it can be, if used and funded appropriately.
3. As already said, extended jail time for serious crimes and/or repeat offenses.
4. I don't think it would make a big difference to me. There will always be violent criminals around.