BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — Benton County detectives say more convicted sex offenders are choosing to serve their entire sentences than get out early on parole.
“We have more people going flat now in prison than coming out so they’re not on paper,” said Detective Paul Newell.
Two detectives at the Benton County Sheriff’s office dedicate their time solely to tracking and checking up with sex offenders.
Detective Newell says many sex offenders are eligible for parole after serving 1/6 of their time in jail, but now many of them are choosing to serve their full sentence.
“So they don’t have to deal with probation parole. When someone is on probation and parole they have a warrant search waiver so we can go into their house and search and do what we have to do than if there out on probation and parole they don’t have that search waiver on file,” Det. Newell said.
But Det. Newell says its a catch 22.
“If they go flat and they have to come out then they just have to deal with us, where they are not on paper. If they decide to if they stay in to go flat they’re serving more time in prison so they’re less time on the street with,” Det. Newell said.
Regardless, Benton County detectives say they do whatever they need to do to ensure these offenders are following the rules.
“If they’re not compliant, we are going to arrest them put them back in jail,” Det. Newell said.
Communication between registration officers tracking sex offender in different counties and states has improved throughout the years. The state of Arkansas will soon use a new website to keep up with their whereabouts.
“The old one is very limited on the amount of information you can put in like the social media accounts and generally these offenders have multiple emails multiple social media accounts, the new stuff is unlimited number of stuff you can put it, they have 15 emails and 12 social media accounts, the state can actually track that when the software goes into effect.”
It will also allow the public to reach detectives easier.
“They can leave messages for us if they see something that causes some alarm with an offender in that areas,” Det. Newell said.
The detectives at Benton County Sheriff’s office also go to Little Rock once a month with the Arkansas Sex Offender Managers Association, where they meet with other registration officers from the state to talk through problems they face and ways they can better communicate with each other.