Monday, January 26, 2015

Suffolk Virginia Christain Organization the Coalition Against Poverty Offers Shelter to the Homeless During the Cold Winter, Unless You Are a Registered Sex Offender!

 
Dear Victoria Bourne of the Virginian Pilot, the Coalition Against Poverty and it's partners, 

I just read the recent Virginian Pilot article Suffolk group partners with churches to help homeless http://hamptonroads.com/2015/01/suffolk-group-partners-churches-help-homeless 

So is it my understanding (per the article) if any homeless Virginian looking for shelter is listed on the Virginia State Police Sex Offender Registry they will be turned away by the Coalition Against Poverty denying them a warm place to sleep for a few hours simply because of a conviction from 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago? 

But you don't turn away anyone convicted of any other crime like murder, drugs, robbery, assault, battery, burglary, larceny, DUI, domestic violence or animal abuse?  

How can the Coalition Against Poverty, a network of Christian churches and organizations turn people who are in need away? 

That's not an act of Christianity. 

That's not forgiveness, offering a second chance or a hand-up to those in need. 

Those listed on the VSP Registry include people with disabilities, mental illness, health issues, Veteran's, fathers, spouses, women and juveniles and yet you have determined if they are listed they are not worthy of receiving your assistance of a warm shelter or food. Today there are more than 21, 300 Registered Sex Offenders in Virginia and each year an average of 1,008 new people are added. 

I would recommend the Coalition Against Poverty and every Christian partner take a hard look at this prejudicial policy and if you continue to discriminate against Virginians based on a government mandated label for one type of conviction you should add this information to each and every mission statement so donors, members and those you serve know you pick and chose who is worthy of your charity. 

Sincerely,  

Mary Devoy

Friday, January 23, 2015

New Book in April 2015 - Protecting Our Kids?: How Sex Offender Laws Are Failing Us by Emily Horowitz


I just preordered my copy (see below)! I’ve also added it to the Books, Studies, Reports page. 

At the moment I’m 1/3 the way through The Autism Spectrum, Sexuality and the Law: What every parent and professional needs to know, an excellent read and the first I’ve found on this topic. 

Mary 

 
Protecting Our Kids?: How Sex Offender Laws Are Failing Us by Emily Horowitz
Release Date April 30, 2015 

Summary: 

Do sex offender laws protect children, or are they inherently unfair practices that, at their worst, promote vigilante justice? The latter, this book argues. By analyzing the social, political, historical, and cultural context surrounding the emergence of current sex offender policies and laws, the work shows how sex offenders have come to loom as greater-than-life monsters when, in many cases, that is not true at all. Looking at its subject from a fresh viewpoint, the book shares research and new analyses of data and qualitative evidence to show how sex-offender laws are not only ineffective, but engender destructive fear and anxiety.  

To help readers understand the impact of these laws, the author presents interviews with sex offenders and their families as they describe the day-to-day reality of living on the sex offender registry. Citing research and statistics, the book challenges the idea that sex offenders must be continually monitored and publicly identified because they are incurably predatory. Most important, the study shows that undue sex offender panic is preventing policymakers from addressing the true threats to children—poverty and growing inequality. 
 

Is It Illegal for a Virginia Registered Sex Offender to Use Facebook to Connect with Friends, Family and Loved Ones Across the Country?


One of the more popular questions I get from readers is about having a Facebook account as an RSO in Virginia. 

Before I cover the law in Virginia let me first make a disclaimer. 

If you are under VADOC Probation supervision or under court-mandated Sex offender therapy you have a separate set of rules that you must follow that could result in criminal charges if you break them and you need to refer to your specific rules and not just Virginia law to confirm if you are in compliance. 

OK. 

Virginia Code says under Registration Procedures for Sex Offenders
Section G - 30 minutes following any change of electronic mail address information, any instant message, chat or other Internet communication name or identity information that the person uses or intends to use 

Any changeincludes the creation or the deletion of any Email Address, Instant Messenger Name, Identity or Address. 

1. As an RSO in Virginia you must register EVERY email address you have access to, period! 

2. Virginia law does not require an RSO to register their social media accounts or chat-room accounts to the Virginia State Police (VSP) including but not limited to:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Pinterist
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr
  • eHarmony
  • Match.com
3. In Virginia it is not a crime for an RSO to have a Facebook account, but in some other states it is

Note: Such laws have been overturned by the courts as unconstitutional:
2009/2012:
o        Nebraska
2012:
o        Louisiana
2013:
o        California (email addresses too)
o        Indiana
o        North Carolina 
 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Some Good News, a Start Date was Added to Senator Garrett’s SB1138 AND It Appears We Have Confirmation the 2006 and 2008 Retroactive Re-Classifications Legality is Highly Questionable!


 
Finally, a bit of good news to share from the 2015 Virginia General Assembly session. 

Yesterday afternoon the Senate Courts of Justice Committee heard SB1138 which Raises the penalty for sexual abuse (a defined term) of a child 13 or 14 years old from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony I posted about the issue with this bill back on January 14, 2015 . I wasn’t opposing the point of making it a felony, I opposed the fact that it had no start date and when past bills like this have become law.... the Virginia State Police has then implemented the change retroactively to the currently listed Registered Sex Offenders on the VSP Registry. By increasing their classification from Non-Violent to Violent, making them “Lifers” instead of being able to petition for removal after 15 years and changing their mandated re-registrations from once a year to every 90 days. All while denying them due process. 

When I spoke to the Virginia Senate Courts of Justice Committee about this issue it was amazing every single one of them.... I had their undivided attention. 

I told them that when they made similar legislative changes in 2006 and 2008 without including a start/effective date the Virginia State Police (VSP) took that as a directive to retroactively apply the change to our current Non-Violent Offenders. I told the Committee that I found the number from the 2008 change to be 1,492 Virginians and I still didn’t know how many from 2006. That the fiscal impact statements in 2006 and 2008 did not capture including these current offenders and that this SB1138 was also going to miss the true cost since we don’t know if 200 or 2000 Non-Violent Offenders who would be swept up. 

I reminded them that the Virginia Sex Offender Registry already lists approximately 83% of the Offenders as Violent leaving just 17% as Non-Violent and with SB1138 we would move Virginia closer to a single-tiered classification system where everyone listed is considered the same and no ever has the ability to petition for removal. Making it worthless for the public who are attempting to decipher who poses a true threat and who has just been swept up in such mass legislative mandates like this one.

I asked the Committee to add a start date of July 1, 2015 otherwise SB1138 would weaken the already questionable classification system we have in the Commonwealth.
Then I took my seat.
 
The Senate Committee Legal Analyst then told the Committee that § 9.1-901. Section C states Unless a specific effective date is otherwise provided, all provisions of the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry Act shall apply retroactively. This subsection is declaratory of existing law he then declared to the Committee that a start/effective date was NOT required for SB1138 because it did not specify a change to 9.1-902 . 

The Chairman of the Committee asked me to re-approach to restate why I was asking them for a start date.....I have NEVER been asked or allowed to re-approach the podium, in 7 years if I ever tried to do that to clear up confusion or to argue some falsehood someone after me stated I've been immediately yelled at and/or instructed to take my seat. To be asked to come back and explain was unprecedented. 

I then told the Committee members I knew what the statute said but the VSP has historically been applying the Legislatures changes in law retroactively and last year (2014) when this exact same bill was discussed in this very Committee the VSP Legislative Liaison that year stepped forward to agree with me telling the Committee that they would in fact apply the change retroactively if no effective date was added to the bill.
 

Senator Stanley’s SB700 and Delegate Ramadan’s HB1354: Proposing a VSP Public Animal Cruelty Registry


Senator Stanley’s SB700 VSP Animal Cruelty “List” will be heard by the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee this afternoon. 

Back in 2011 the Virginia State Crime Commission studied if there should be an Animal Abuser Registry because of a bill at the 2011 session. Here is the VSCC Presentation, http://leg5.state.va.us/User_db/frmvscc.aspx?ViewId=1989 

Per the presentations, in 2011 an estimate of the funds needed for an Animal Abuser Registry was:
·         $49,321 would need to be appropriated to DOC in FY12
·         Two state correctional beds and less than one local jail bed would be impacted by FY17
·         VSP estimated that about $986,000 would be required to design and develop a new registry and website
·         An additional $126,411 would be needed each year to support a position
·         Cost to local law enforcement was unknown. 

From FY2007 to FY2011 (5 year period) there were 104 Felony convictions of Animal Abuse in Virginia. That’s 20.8 convictions per year. More than $1 million for a public Animal Abuser Registry for 20.8 additional people per year. 

I did not oppose the bill during the 2011 session but I did oppose it during the VSCC study. The 2011 VSCC voted NOT to create an Animal Abuser Registry. 

VSCC studies cost a lot of time and money but yet some State Legislators who are determined to name and shame anyone and everyone convicted of a crime will just ignore the evidence, costs and time spent previously on looking into the same old proposal.
 
Then in 2014 there was SB32  patroned by Senator Stanley calling for an Animal Abuser Registry, it died. 

Now in 2015 Senator Stanley SB700 and Delegate Ramadan HB1354 are both calling for an Animal Cruelty “List” omitting the word “Registry” and allowing the people mandated to register to be automatically removed after 15 years if they have not reoffended and have a proposal I’ll been asking for, for the last 7 years for our Non-Violent Offenders on the VSP Sex Offender Registry but no one wants to sponsor this change. 

Why would we allow for automatic removal for one VSP public Registry after 15 years but not another?  
 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Action Item: SB1374 Excuses EVERY Virginia Department from Ever Advising Our RSO’s of Their Legal Restrictions and Regulations That Change Every Year, Retroactively……and the RSO’s Will Still be Charged With a Felony

 
A new Bill just posted that everyone needs to send an immediate email or make a phone call against, it affects every current RSO and every future RSO. 

It is patroned by Senator David W. Marsden , SB1374 

Bill Summary:
Provides that a defendant cannot raise as a defense to a charge of failure to register as a sex offender the fact that he did not receive information outlining registration duties and procedures from a state entity. 

Bill Text:
L. Failure of the defendant to receive any instructional or informational publication or guidance document developed or published by a governmental entity for the purpose of assisting persons required to register with registration or other requirements or prohibitions shall not constitute a defense to any criminal charge or  to a violation of any other requirement or prohibition imposed upon a person for whom registration is required, nor shall any civil liability attach to a governmental entity involved in the development or publication of any such document. 

The State has already excused the Virginia State Police for giving out-dated information to our RSO’s  with this current statute http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+9.1-917  

SB1374 would excuse ANY Virginia Department
  • The Commonwealth’s Attorney
  • The Department of Corrections
  • The Office of the Attorney General
  • The Virginia State Police
  • …..etc
from advising a newly convicted Virginian who must register as a Sex Offender that they must even go and register within 3 days (not 3 business days) of the conviction or when they are released from prison or jail. 

I can tell all of you from experience, the Commonwealths’ Attorney, your defense attorney and the Judge don’t advise a defendant what they can or can’t do when they are convicted of a Registrable Offense.  

SB1374 removes ANY responsibility from ANY Virginia Department to answer ANY questions an RSO has about the current State or Federal restrictions or regulations that only apply to them (not every Virginian), that change retroactively every year and that carry a Felony punishment for violating even if the registrable offense was a misdemeanor.

With this bill the VSP Sex Offender Hotline (which is only available Mon-Fri 9am to 4pm) could be completely shut-down, is that the goal here?
 

Action Item: HB1366 Passed out of House Courts of Justice Criminal Sub-Committee and Moves onto the Full Courts of Justice

Update: 

ACLU questions new sex offender bill, January 20, 2015

Original Post:

Late yesterday afternoon the Virginia House Courts of Justice Criminal Sub-Committee passed Delegate Campbell’s HB1366 onto the Full Courts of Justice Committee. 

I was the only opponent (as usual) against this terrible proposal, the Virginia School Board Representative stood in favor of the proposal and not one Commonwealth’s Attorney (and there were plenty in the room) stood up to question the bill.  

There were also no reporters in the room during the discussion but afterwards NBC12 located Claire from the ACLU of Virginia and she gave a great response to the proposal. VIRGINIA ACLU: New sex offender bill 'invitation to throw stones’, January 19, 2015 http://www.nbc12.com/story/27887584/virginia-aclu-new-sex-offender-bill-invitation-to-throw-stones 

How many petitions are filed by parents every year in Virginia? 

How many of those are granted or are denied? 

I believe this data is extremely important to know because if this bill becomes law, the denial rate by Judges will skyrocket due to the public pressure and that should not be a goal of this bill but it will be a result, intended or not.

The bill now goes onto the Full House Courts of Justice Committee most likely to be heard this Wednesday (tomorrow) or this Friday. 

Below is the statement that I made against the HB1366 yesterday and here are past posts on the HB1366.
I hope everyone will take points from the older posts or the below statement and Email or call your one Virginia Delegate and if you are feeling industrious every member of the House Courts of Justice Committee (see list below) TODAY and ask them to vote “No” on HB1366! 

Action Item: SB1074 Robby's Rule Passed out of Courts of Justice and onto Senate Finance Committee Yesterday Morning

 
The two Virginia Senate versions of Robby’s Rule were rolled together and passed out of the Senate Courts of Justice Committee yesterday morning. Bill: Add to Virginia's sex offender registry, January 19, 2015
http://www.dailypress.com/news/politics/dp-bill-add-to-virginias-sex-offender-registry-20150119-story.html

Senator McDougle told the Committee that SB1074 is not the expensive version of Robby’s Rule that was proposed last year so this year’s version(s) will NOT have the posted information confirmed by the Virginia State Police but yet it would be listed by the VSP for the public to view. Senator McDougle pointed out that the bill is “fairly limited” that this Supplemental Registry “will be a central depository of old court records from across the state and put it in one place”. 
 
A bill with almost no fiscal impact that will hurt innocent Virginians isn’t worth the savings of the earlier version that had a cost of $1.69 million but would have been verified by the VSP as accurate.  

While I was  making an example of mis-identifications by the public from old, unverified information being listed on this public Supplemental Registry (my full statement to the Committee is below) Co-Chair and acting Chairman Obenshain stopped me and said, “I would caution you for personalizing this, it undermines the effectiveness of your statement” Then another Committee member said, “what if a reporter walks into the room and they hear Senator Norment (I never said Senator Norment, I said “the mis-identified Mr. Norment” and “a Thomas Norment”) is convicted of a sex crime. So I agreed to insert my name for the rest of the statement if it made the Committee members more comfortable. 

Senator Obenshain and I think it was Senator Edwards actually supported what my argument against Robby’s Rule is, but they didn't see that. That people will hear about or read a name on the VSP Supplemental Registry with no picture, no address, no other identifying information and an innocent person with the same name would be smeared as a “Sex Offender”. 

This was exactly my point…. A name is not enough to go and incorrect assumptions will be made by the public but the members of the Committee were too busy being concerned with telling me to stop using the example of “the misidentified Mr. Norment” to absorb the irony of their outrage I was smearing an innocent Senator. 

Rob Buswell (of Robby’s Rule) doesn’t care that old and confusing information will be placed on a VSP list of “Sex offenders, his goal is to get his abusers pre-1994 conviction listed on line and a bill with his name passed into law, if that means no fiscal impact of $1.69 million and unverified information of people who may have died or moved out of state he’s fine with that. He has one goal and he wants it no matter what the human cost is, this is what happens when Legislators propose bills for citizens who have an axe-to-grind. The collateral damage that will occur if either the Senate or the House version HB1353 of Robby’s Rule becomes law in Virginia is incalculable. 

Why doesn’t Mr. Buswell ask for any pre-1994 convictions of people who are already listed on the Regular VSP Sex Offender Registry to be added to their existing post?

  1. I would not oppose such a proposal.
  2. No innocent Virginians who share a similar name with someone convicted 3 decades ago will be confused or misidentified.
  3. And no one that has remained crime free for more than 20 years would be retroactively added to a VSP Sex Offender list, denying them due process and up-ending the successful re-entry that they made decades ago?

To understand what the hul·la·ba·loo in yesterdays’ Committee was about and to read the valid concerns about this proposal below is my statement against SB1074 (and SB934 that was rolled into it). 
 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sex Offender Outpatient Program: “The Longer People are Institutionalized the More Complicated their Return to Society Becomes”

 
The below article is about Nebraska Sex Offender therapy program funding, but there is so much more in the article.  

Including the difficulties of retaining employment because co-workers and employers can’t look past the public label of “Sex Offender” and instead at the person in front of them who is not only qualified for the job but is a human being.  

On how lawmakers won’t spend one-dime on programs that assist Sex Offenders in a successful reentry or to thwart any future crime (sexual or not) but when it comes to locking them up (in prison or civil commitment) or creating another Registry requirement that carries a Felony punishment, the Politicians will spend any amount because they can tout it in the future campaign materials as “I’m Tough on Sexual Predators”. 

And how the public label which was claimed to keep society safer because they have a right to know who has been convicted of a sex crime actually makes a successful existence impossible. Just like all the books, studies and reports have concluded public registries do more harm than good. 

I could have just added it to the In the News page (a new 2015 page will be created soon), but I decided it deserved a spot as a post. 

Mary   

Sex offender outpatient program a small cost in big system, January 17, 2015
By Nancy Hicks

For 23 years Caesar lived in an institution -- either prison or treatment center -- after being convicted of raping a woman in her apartment. 

His options were limited. Someone else cooked his meals, told him when to get up, when to eat, when he could have visitors. 

He served his time. 

And for the past year, he’s lived in Lincoln -- first in a halfway house, now in his own apartment. 

It's been a transition. 

He’s had to learn how to cook dinner, how to shop for food, how to buy his own clothes and wash them. 

He’s had to learn to manage in a society that moved from typewriters to computers while he was behind bars. 

It hasn’t been easy for Caesar, whose real name isn't being used here. 

He’s been fired from two jobs after others discovered he was on the sex offender list. He was hit by a car while riding his bike. He doesn’t always have money to purchase minutes for his cellphone -- the phone on which he's still trying to figure out how to set up voicemail. 

But Caesar isn't whining. This is his reality as an ex-con with the sex offender label. 

And he wants people to understand that one of the things keeping him sane, giving him hope, helping him manage his frustration and his behavior is a therapy program offered by Lincoln psychologist Mary Paine. 

Caesar, 53, remembers the long walk home after he lost that first job, a good job. It was a cold night. He was angry, so angry. Losing his job was so unfair. 

He walked past bars, but he didn’t go in because drinking is one of the things that got him in trouble. 

He kept on walking. And he kept reminding himself of Paine’s advice: “There is nothing so bad we can’t fix, as long as you don’t re-offend.”
 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Action Item for Virginia Delegate Rob Bell’s Bill HB2040 It Has NO Start Date So it Will Retroactively Capture Convictions from 1-20 years Ago and Mandate an Unknown Number of Virginians Register as a Violent Sex Offender for Life, Denying Them Due Process and Violating Ex Post Facto!

 
Delegate Rob Bell’s HB2040 proposes numerous changes, including: 

  1. For the Prostitution of a minor increasing the Class 4 Felony to a Class 3 Felony for receiving money, procuring or pandering, which I do NOT oppose. 
  2. § 18.2-356. Receiving money for procuring person becomes a Registrable offense, which I am NOT going to oppose.
  3. § 18.2-357. Receiving money from earnings of male or female prostitute becomes a Registrable offense, which I am NOT going to oppose.
  4. The transporting of a person for the purposes of prostitution or unlawful sexual intercourse, which I am NOT going to oppose.
  5. The creation of two new crimes (recruitment and conspiracy) under criminal gang and racketeering for receiving money from prostitution, which I am NOT going to oppose.
  6. And the civil forfeiture of property used in the commission of these crimes.
BUT what I do oppose is the current crimes of:
§ 18.2-356. Receiving money for procuring person 
§ 18.2-357. Receiving money from earnings of male or female prostitute
are being added to the VSP Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry RETROACTIVELY. 

Anyone convicted of these two crimes 1, 5, 10, 15 or 20 years ago were already given their court-ordered sentence that the Commonwealth’s Attorney and the Judge agreed to would now be overturned by the Virginia Legislature because of a retroactive mandate to register after the fact. 

There are NO “due-over’s” or “add-on’s” , once a sentence is handed down, that’s it.

By not adding a start date to HB2040 per § 9.1-901. Section C, Delegate Bell and any Virginia lawmaker who votes for HB2040 is denying Virginians due process and violating ex post facto.

Please Email or call your one Virginia Delegate and your one Virginia Senator and either ask them to voteNoon HB2040 OR to add a start date of July 1, 2015! TODAY! 

Delegate Rob Bell- DelRBell@house.virginia.gov 

Thank you! 

Mary Devoy

HB1366 the "Recipe for Disaster" Bill Pitting RSO Parents Who Are Petitioning the Court to Drop-Off & Pick-up Their Own Children From Daycare /School Against Complete Strangers Who Hate RSO's and Will Influence the Judge Will be Heard by Virginia House Courts of Justice Criminal Sub-Committee in the Afternoon of Monday January 19th! You Could Attend the Meeting if You are in Richmond.



Delegate Campbell’s is scheduled to be heard http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?151+sub+H080010119 by the Virginia House Courts of Justice - Criminal Sub-Committee next Monday January 19th (MLK and Lobby Day) starting ½ hour after House adjournment (anywhere from 12:30pm to 4pm). There are a few other bills on the agenda that I’m not opposing but I will be paying attention to the reason they’ve been proposed. 
I have my opposition statement against the proposal ready and I will be at the hearing raring-to-go! 

Have you emailed or called your one Virginia Delegate yet?  

For past Posts / Action Items on this bill go here:
·         January 1, 2015
·         December 4, 2014 

If you would like to contact the members of the House Full Committee about this bill here they are:
 

Supplemental Registry Bills SB1074 and SB934 (AKA Robby’s Rule) Will be Heard by Virginia Senate Courts of Justice Committee Early Monday January 19th! You Could Attend the Meeting if You are in Richmond


Both Senator Ryan McDougle's SB1074  and Senator Jennifer Wexton's SB934 are scheduled http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?151+doc+S0310119 to be heard by the Virginia Senate Courts of Justice Committee next Monday January 19th (MLK and Lobby Day) starting at 8am! There are a few other bills on the agenda that I’m not opposing but I will be paying attention to the reason they’ve been proposed. 

These two “Supplemental Registry” bills are a bit different but have the same end goal an on-line list of Virginians with pre-1994 sex convictions run by the Virginia State Police and accessible by the public. 

One of these bills will be “rolled” into the other by the Committee right BEFORE they discuss the specifics of the “chosen” bill. The two patrons will have worked this issue out ahead of time and I have a feeling on which one they will select to present to the Committee but I’m not going to post my guess here, I’ll wait for the announcement on Monday morning. 

I have my opposition statement against the proposal ready and I will be at the hearing raring-to-go! 

Have you emailed or called your one Virginia Senator yet?  

For past Posts / Action Items on these two bills go here:
·         January 14, 2015
·         January 7, 2015 

I would not be surprised if the “chosen” version is passed out of Committee, for a few reasons. 

But if it does I will not stop opposing it and I hope you won’t either. Many bills over the past 6 years have made it through the first chamber and onto the second one before they “died”. With this platform you can’t be faint-of-heart or a quitter, you just keep pushing ahead with the facts. 

If you would like to contact the members of the Senate Committee about these bills here they are:
 

Virginia Alliance for Progressive Values Monthly Salon Speaker for Monday January 19th 2015


Back in December 2014 the Alliance for Progressive Values asked me to be their January 19, 2015 Salon speaker.

To be honest, I had never heard of APV  until I received the invitation and so I did a bit of homework on their mission, work, goals and lobbying efforts. 

Past APV Salon (monthly) speakers have included:
I decided to take this opportunity I had been given to raise awareness on the need to reform the Virginia Sex Offender Registry, our laws and our attitudes when it comes to “Sex Offenders” to APV’s members who are not only voting citizens of Virginia but lobby the lawmakers every session. 

If anyone is in Richmond this coming Monday evening and would like to attend the gathering, visit APV’s website or Facebook page for more information. 

Mary Devoy

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Virginia Bill HJ282 Patroned by Senator Emmett Hanger For the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security to Study the Virginia Sex Offender Registry Efficacy in 2015

 

Prefiled January 14, 2015  

Requesting the Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security to study the effectiveness of sex offender registry requirements on public safety. Report.  

Patron/ Sponsor — Senator Emmett W. Hanger Jr.  

Referred to Virginia Senate Committee on Rules  

WHEREAS, it is important that citizens feel safe from crime in their homes and communities, and in addition to assisting law-enforcement, an important purpose of Virginia's Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry is to provide the public with the necessary information to take appropriate safety measures; and  

WHEREAS, since 1994, three federal laws have encouraged states to establish sex offender registries or risk the loss of federal funding: the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act (1994), the Pam Lychner Sex Offender Tracking and Identification Act (1996), and the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (2006); and  

WHEREAS, since 1994, the number of crimes for which registration is required has increased, the information that is required at registration has grown substantially, and public access to information on individual sex offenders has expanded; and   

WHEREAS, concerns have been raised about the breadth of registration and whether the breadth of registration makes it difficult to distinguish predatory behavior and whether citizen reliance on the sex offender registry can be misplaced in certain instances; now, therefore, be it