[EDITORIALS]Start tracking offenders nowThe Ministry of Justice has sought to introduce a sex offender tracking system using electronic bracelets.
The ministry recently submitted a bill to the National Assembly seeking to permit ordering sex offenders on parole, those on probation with a suspended sentence or those who finished their prison terms to wear electronic bracelets. People who molested children younger than 13 or repeat sex offenders will be unlikely to be able to avoid wearing the tracking device if the law is enacted.
Earlier this year, demands rose that sex offenders must be sternly punished after an elementary school girl in Yongsan, Seoul, was raped and murdered.
Some even proposed other measures, such as making public a sex offender’s face and limiting where he or she can live. Memories of the brutal Yongsan crime faded, however, and the measures saw no fruitful outcome.
Meanwhile, repeat sex offenders raped women at home alone nationwide and hundreds of children were victimized by molesters.
Human rights activists said the introduction of an electronic bracelet infringes on privacy and human dignity, but that is inappropriate.
The freedom for those on parole is less restricted than when they were in prison. The system only checks on the whereabouts of sex offenders. It does not control their actions or communications.
Similar systems have been enforced in about 10 nations, including the United States and England, and they have been found to be effective in preventing the recurrence of sex crimes.
It allows the whereabouts of a criminal to be tracked easily, so the record can be used as evidence to refute a suspect’s alibi, when necessary.
The system, of course, should not be abused. Its implementation should be carefully reviewed based on its effectiveness, cost and human rights.
How to assess which convicts who have completed their prison terms should wear the electronic bracelet is the particularly thorny issue.
A sex offense leaves a permanent scar on the victim. It is a malicious crime that puts a yoke on the victim’s family and also causes them pain.
Legislators who spoke out following the Yongsan murder case must pass the bill on the electronic bracelet as soon as possible in order to reduce the agonies that sex crime victims face.