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Corrections Dept. wants offenders to help pay for GPS

The state Corrections Department wants to make sex offenders help pay for the GPS tracking devices they're supposed to wear.

About 145 of the most serious offenders are being tracked now.

But officials expect 330 to wear the bracelets by the end of next year at an extra cost of $1 million.

The corrections' agency is seeking an emergency rule to charge the offenders $4 to $8 a day, which amounts to a maximum of $240 a month.

Only two people spoke about the fee at a recent hearing in Madison.

Sex offender Grover Maass says there's no way he can afford it because when employers learn about the bracelet they generally refuse to hire him.

And even if they did, Maass said he'd have to go outside every half-hour to send his GPS signal, something few employers would tolerate.

But Madison attorney and former legislator Peter Bear says he hopes GPS bracelets can be cost-effective for non-violent non-sex offenders to wear after an early release from prison.

He says it would help those people become productive members of society, at a lower cost for taxpayers.

Bear says he's working with lawmakers on a plan to use more bracelets if they're cost-effective.