Sexual Assault Law Reform
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Sexual Assault Law Reform

It looks like Korea is moving towards the type of sex-offender management systems in use in the US and other western countries.

It is expected that, beginning in October of next year, repeat sex offenders will be required to wear electronic monitoring bracelets to track their locations and reduce the likelihood of reoffending.

On the 23rd the Ministry of Justice announced that it has set aside a budget of 8.723 billion won for the project to be carried out next year and that Samsung SDS has been selected as the top bidder for the setting-up of the system to monitor their every move.

The monitoring bracelets are currently in use in over 10 countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada and following the passage of the law to allow their use last April they are set to be used in our country as well, starting on October 28 of next year.

The bracelets will be required for the following categories of convicts: those who have been convicted twice within the last 5 years, receiving a sentence of at least three years; those who have worn the bracelet before; those who have committed more than one crime and are recognized as recidivists; and those who committed their crime against a child 13 years old or younger.

But the bracelets will be required only for those offenders over the age of 19.

If examinations determine that the person is at high risk of comitting a second crime, then after the prison sentence finishes and before the first judgment is decided they can petition the court and the court can also demand an examination.

If it is decided the bracelet is to be put on and they committed a crime within 5 years, then on the day the prison sentence finishes and they are to be released or on the day of their parole, just before they are released the bracelet is put on them.

The Ministry of Justice will produce samples of the monitoring bracelets through June of next year, carry out tests from July through September, and then put them into use in October.

The central office receives information from the bracelets every 10 to 60 seconds about the convict’s location and movement 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so the authorities can track him at any time.

When the offender changes residence or leaves the country they must report to the police, and if they move outdoors or into a shadowy area, such as a tunnel or subway station, the GPS and LBS technology will apply.

If an attempt is made to evade the monitoring by removing or damaging the bracelet, then either an electronic signal is sent or the variation in the signal is detected and the police are alerted. The punishment for such an act is up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to 20,000,000 won.

The Ministry of Justice says the re-offending rate for sex offenses is approximately 13%, and 28% of those who re-offend do so within six months, significantly greater than the rate for other crimes.

During the inspections conducted by the National Assembly last year, in 2005 there were 13,695 people convicted of sex crimes and including the 8.7% who had been previously convicted it was found that the re-offense rate reached 53.8%.

The Mr. Kim, caught by police for comitting 10 sex crimes from May through August of last year in Incheon and Gyeonggi-do, spent five and a half years in prison and just 16 days after his release he committed a new crime, and another Mr. Kim, previously convicted of kidnapping and murdering a female high school student who was walking home from school, was sentenced to four years in prison for kidnapping and sexually assaulting a female middle school student and within one year of being released had committed similar crimes.

Just two months ago a Mr. Park, arrested in August of last year on suspiction of sexually assaulting a female college student in Seokcho, was charged with molesting a teenager, and the Mr. Yang who was charged with sexually assaulting 37 wealthy women in Cheongju and sentenced to five years in prison for forcible rape committed a new crime just 13 days after being released in March of last year.