Governor Tells Sex Offenders 'Don't Mess With Texas'

Texas Governor Rick Perry announced recently that he intends to make his state's sex offender laws the toughest in the country, and hopes his colleagues in other states will follow his lead.

Texas currently has a version of Jessica's Law that calls for mandatory sentencing of convicted child sex offenders. Under Gov. Perry's latest proposal, Texas would require repeat sex offenders be sentenced to life without parole. His plan also calls for mandatory electronic monitoring of first-time sex offenders upon their release from prison.

"These steps will help ensure that sexual predators pay the price for their crimes and do not have the freedom to destroy lives again," said the Governor.

The plan includes the following provisions:

  • The Office of the Attorney General, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) and local law enforcement will work together to create Sex Offender Parole Violation Apprehension Teams, which will arrest high-risk sex offenders who have violated parole. These teams will coordinate with local law enforcement to conduct additional registration compliance checks on predatory, high-risk sex offenders.
  • A $1.7 million grant from the Governor's Criminal Justice Division (CJD) to help TDCJ actively monitor all high-risk sex offenders on parole with tracking technology.
  • A pledge to work with lawmakers during the upcoming session to pass legislation allowing prosecutors to seek life without parole for repeat offenders convicted of sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault.
  • Requiring active monitoring of high-risk sex offenders using tracking technology as part of the sex offender's sentence, and requiring all high-risk registered sex offenders who have served their entire prison sentence be actively monitored for three years upon release from prison.
  • Encouraging governors across the country to enter into reciprocal agreements on sex offender registration to prevent individuals from circumventing sex offender registration laws by moving from one state to another.

We're after them and we're gonna get 'em," Gov. Perry said of sexual predators. He plans to introduce the new initiative at the start of the legislative session in January 2011.