I do my
very best to follow the rules and the chain-of-command. But when policies are
ignored, when favorites are played and when discrimination is the chosen path
by those in authority who fear releasing facts /data will prove a need for
reform I am left with no other choice but to make the effort to discriminate
against me known.
Virginia State Police refuses to comply with FOIA requests for the Virginia Sex
Offender Registry because they are personally prejudiced against me, but they
comply when others make similar requests.
October 2013 I learned that the Virginia State Police was fulfilling Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA) requests for data from the Virginia Sex Offender
Registry to out-of-state organizations and in-state researchers, some of the
same data they denied to me in 2011 and 2012.
In February 2011 only one of my requests was answered the
rest were denied including:
1.the number of female offenders and
the number of male offenders
2.the number of offenders who were
25 years or younger when convicted
3.the number of offenders convicted
in another state
In May 2012 again only one of my requests was answered but
I was charged $26.36, the rest were denied including:
1.the number of female and the
number of male offenders
2.the number of offender’s
classified as Non-Violent and Violent
3.the number of offenders aged
50-59, 60-69, 70-79, 80-89 and 90-99
4.the number of offenders listed as
5.the number of offenders listed as
self-employed (same address as their home)
6.the number of offenders listed
homeless or mobile (an address that is not a residence)
7.the number of offenders that petitioned
to be removed from the registry in each of the years 2006 through 2011.
8.of those that petitioned how many
were successfully removed from the registry in each of the years 2006 through
9.the number of offenders with
charges before 1985, 1990, 1995 and 2000
The VSP based
the 2012 denial on the Virginia
statute 2.2-3706(H), so at that time I gave up on FOIA requests.
I have never
requested a list of offenders birth dates, SSN’s, phone numbers, email
addresses or vehicle registrations I believe that type of specific information
should be denied in a FOIA request.
Then in October
2013 I came across 3 separate examples of the Virginia State Police sharing
data from the Virginia Sex Offender Registry with other requestors.
1)LongwoodUniversity Authors of Neighborhood Tipping and Sorting
Dynamics in Real Estate: Evidence from the Virginia Sex Offender Registry.
They were given 10
years of data by the Virginia State Police
1.past addresses, including all move-in
and move-out dates
7.Violent or Non-Violent Status
2)The National Center for Missing
and Exploited Children’s May 29, 2013
U.S. Map of Sex Offenders listed 19,901
Registered Sex Offenders in Virginia.
That total would have come from a specific request to the VSP.
3)Klass Kids Foundation as of July 30, 2013 listed 20,174 Registered Sex Offenders in Virginia. That total
also came from a specific request to the VSP.
contacting a few different Virginia Organizations in October about the VSP
cherry-picking FOIA requests I learned the following.
In July 2012 the statute the VSP
used to deny my request was re-codified
and is now found at 2.2-3706(A)(2)(k)
k. Records of the Sex Offender and Crimes
Against Minors Registry maintained by the Department of State Police pursuant
to Chapter 9 (§ 9.1-900 et seq.) of Title 9.1,
including information obtained from state, local, and regional officials,
except to the extent that information is required to be posted on the Internet
pursuant to § 9.1-913; and
One reason for the re-codification
of this section and all of the other provisions dealing with access to law
enforcement records was to emphasize that there are certain records that MUST be released, MAY be released, and CANNOT
The exemption from the VSP in May 2012
fell under the MAY be released. Law
enforcement thus MAY release the
information if they choose to, but they do not have to.
Usually when discretion is selectively
exercised it is when information about THIS situation is released but not THAT
situation. That is, they're choosing to release/withhold based on the content
of the record.
When the same information is being
released/withheld based on who is doing the asking. It is not exactly
prohibited under FOIA (discretion is discretion is discretion), but it is poor public policy to pick and choose
FOIA does not require a government
agency to create a record that does not exist. While we may think certain
records or databases contain unique data points that we think are relevant,
that may not be the actual case. Being too specific in the breakdown, grouping
or sorting of data could result in a denial. On the other hand, the
manipulation of a database to excise or specifically include/exclude data
fields is not considered creating a new record. (See 2.2-3704(G)) Manipulation
of fields, however, is different from going through those fields to organize or
sort the data in a different manner.
It appears the VSP
is biased against me a long held suspicion that couldn’t be proven,
Why would the VSP
be prejudice against me?
Because I use
data and statistics to support or oppose proposed legislation at the yearly
General Assembly session versus the traditional method of myth, assumption and
fear to push through flawed legislation that used to regularly pass through in
a block vote.
Most times when
I’m opposing a proposed bill at session that is based on myth and fear instead
of facts the VSP Legislative Liaison is standing a few feet away supporting the
bill to the subcommittee.
Then there are
the “good” bills that I’ve found sponsors for over the years that the different
VSP Liaisons have opposed to the House and Senate sub-committees claiming the Department
doesn’t support the end result or they claim that they are already making the
information readily available to RSO’s when in fact they were not.
Back in 2009 I met Charlie Sullivan (founder of Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants CURE) in WashingtonD.C.
during an Adam Walsh Act Compliance hearing of the House Judiciary Committee. I
met his wife Pauline at a D.C. hearing two years later.
There have been a few VA CURE and National CURE meetings and 1 or 2 other D.C hearings where we've talked about my platform and the barriers that we all encounter.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with this group or Charlie
and Pauline Sullivan, there isNational CURE, there isInternational CURE, there isFederal CURE,there arestate chaptersof CURE includingVirginia
CUREand there is Sex Abuse Treatment Alliance(SATA) / CURE Sex Offenders Restored through Treatment
(SORT).Plus a CURE for Veterans, a CURE for Women and a Civil Commitment of SVP’s
CURE quarterly newsletter. I probably missed a few other initiatives but you
can sign up for more CURE information via the links I included above.
Charlie and Pauline Sullivan are amazing people; they are the best
example of successful grass-roots advocacy that I know of.
Today Charlie sent out the below email to the National CURE
I asked Charlie if it was alright for me to post his message and
he was more than happy to have me share it beyond the CURE followers.
As you all know from my numerous posts over the last 3 months there are more than a few versions of Farm
/Food Stamp –SNAP Bills being amended, discussed and voted on in WashingtonD.C.
Below Charlie has shared a response from one member of Congress
with a constituent who wrote them in opposition of the Food Stamp proposals and
then Charlie shares some insight into what the Food Stamp exclusion really
I hope those of you who don’t currently support Virginia CURE, National
CURE or the Civil Commitment newsletter will consider doing so in the near future.
Thank you for following my blog.
A child is not to suffer for the
actions of the parent
Friends, presently, we are fighting three major issues. The first is that the
phone companies are trying to slow down the implementation of the historic
ruling by the Federal Communications Commission that the costs of phone calls
by people incarcerated should be substantially reduced.
second is that women prisoners in the federal system should not be transferred
hundreds of miles (maybe thousands) from their present prison in Danbury, CT.
This would also close the only female prison in the Northeast corridor.
third issue is that Congress should not take away food stamps from people
day I received a copy of an email from a CURE member who had written a member
of Congress about the food stamp issue. The response from the member was
basically that it was too bad the children of the prisoner would lose food
stamps, but he would vote to do this. And yet, this same member of Congress is
supporting our efforts to keep the
Danbury Prison open to women because they can now receive visits from their
hit me. All three of these issues have the same primary reason--THE CHILDREN!
Whether it is continuing to bond with their parents through visits or through
low-cost phone calls or not going hungry when a parent is released--it is the
children who benefit the most from our efforts. They are truly the forgotten
victims of crime.