Concerns Mount Over How to Enforce Jessica Lunsford Act

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Since the Jessica Lunsford Act took effect in September, 82 people statewide have committed sex crimes that qualify them for the tougher sentences. Twenty nine have been ordered to wear electronic monitoring bracelets. The rest are behind bars.

Jennifer Dritt of the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence is closely watching to make sure judges take the tougher sentencing rules seriously. She thinks most will, but she still worries.

Jennifer says, "Most is not good enough because the consequences or the potential consequences for this individual case where a judge fails to order electronic monitoring can be great."

Lawmakers authorized the purchase of 1,200 additional electronic monitoring bracelets for sex offenders as part of the Lunsford Act, and they want to make sure those bracelets are being used.

Lunsford is a huge and complex law that’s left schools, contractors, and those in the judicial system with many questions, but Beth Atchison at the Florida Department of Corrections says as far as the monitoring bracelets go, the law is quite specific.

Beth says, "There is no question. It's very clear, and we’re working with the state attorneys and everyone in the criminal justice system to make sure these offenders do wear the bracelet as needed."

And corrections officials say, so far at least, every sex offender who qualifies is wearing a monitoring bracelet. State lawmakers ordered a review of the Lunsford Act to find out where the problem areas are. A report is due out this spring.