By Gerry Wagshal
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which was heavily criticized for failing to find Jaycee Dugard living in convicted sex offender Phillip Garrido’s backyard for 18 years, says it has improved its supervision of sex offenders since ABC News first aired Diane Sawyer’s interview with Dugard in July 2011.
The changes include:
- Polygraph Testing, Face-to-Face Evaluations: The CDCR is adding polygraph testing and, when possible, “stringent face-to-face evaluations” by mental health therapists who assess whether sex offenders are classified as low-risk or high-risk. Experts had criticized the CDCR for classifying Garrido — who was a convicted sex offender before he kidnapped Dugard — as low-risk.
- Full-Time GPS Tracking for All Sex Offenders: Some sex offenders, including Garrido, were once only randomly tracked through GPS devices. “Now, the daily tracks of all sex offenders, regardless of their risk level, are carefully and regularly analyzed,” the CDCR said in a statement.
- Immediate Response to GPS Malfunctions: In the past, when batteries on GPS devices ran low or sex offenders became invisible on the GPS grid, parole agents were notified through email alerts. “Now humans actively oversee a GPS monitoring center 24 hours a day,” the department said in its statement. “If something seems amiss, they can contact the sex offenders and their agents directly and immediately.”
- Drug Testing, Therapy: The CDCR is also insisting on increased drug testing and regular mental health therapy as conditions of parole for sex-offenders who need it.