Recent reports of criminals abusing the home monitoring system are troubling for one state lawmaker. Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, wants to set up new house arrest monitoring regulations after reports that hundreds of criminals are walking around free.

"We have reports and stories of some offenders literally going on vacation or to bars while on electronic home monitoring. We also have reports of some of these offenders buying time off the clock. They are the ones that actually choose their own home monitoring company. There’s some unscrupulous ones out there and they are buying time off the clock from these folks to look the other way."



Speaking before the House Public Safety Committee, Shea said the public has a false sense of security because citizens mistakenly believe electronic home monitoring is done in real time. But Randy Weaver, president of the King County Corrections Guild, told the committee monitoring is done passively.

The main threat to public safetey – safety is a simple fact that if an inmate chooses to remove the monitor, no one comes rushing out to track them down. There’s just not enough officers to vigorously monitor and enforce compliance.

A Seattle television station investigation found that offenders have committed theft, kidnapping and even murder in Washington state while being on the program. The House Public Safety Committee met this week to hear from Shea and others concerned about the problem.

Shea and some committee members plan on putting together legislation for the 2015 session to ensure criminals on home monitoring are properly tracked.

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