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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Action Alert: Ask Your Virginia Delegate & Senator to Sponsor a Fiscally Responsible Bill for 2015! Approximately 29,800 Certified USPS Re-Registration Letters Were Mailed Out by the VSP in 2013 and the Postage Alone Cost Approximately $268,000, Stop the Madness!

 
Update:

It appears the cost of USPS certified letters for VSP re-registrations have increased, in 2013 approximately $9.00 in 2014 it's now $10.18!

Another good reason for the State of Virginia to stop sending out these letter and to set automatic/reoccurring registration dates based on an RSO’s DOB per the below recommendation. 
Mary


Original Post:
 
Instead of the Virginia State Police (VSP) printing, processing and mailing USPS certified letters to all the Registered Sex Offenders (RSO’s) under VSP supervision 1-4 times per year they should setup a schedule for re-registration based on the offenders DOB. 
 
First, Some Quick Math:
Per the VSP 2014 Report on Sex Offender Monitoring in October 2013
1.      8,145 of the 20,360 RSO’s in Virginia were under VSP supervision
2.     Based on a 2010 FOIA we know approximately 83% of the Virginia Registry are classified as Violent, that would be 7,470 of the October 2013 offenders
3.     The remaining 17% is classified as Non-Violent that would be 675 offenders in October 2013. 

The majority of Violent offenders must reregister every 90 days but there is a small percentage (total quantity unknown) that only reregisters every 180 days BUT we also know that ANY offender with a failure to register conviction (total quantity unknown) must reregister every 30 days. The 180 days folks and the 30 days folks are an unknown variable but they probably are a wash so for this calculation we will just count every Violent Offender as an every 90 day registrant. 

4.     7,470 Offenders would be mailed 4 re-registration letters per year, that’s approximately 29,800 letters in 2013.
5.     Postage for re-registration letters is $9.00 per letter. 29,800 letters in 2013 cost approximately $268,200, just for the postage.
6.     Over the last 5 years the VSP has added 440-520 additional RSO’s each year under their monitoring and management (not incarcerated and not under VA-DOC Probation supervision). So that’s an average of 480 additional offenders and 83% of them get 4 letters (the rest get 1)mailed out per year. That adds an additional 1,677 letters ($15,093) to the VSP costs each year.

For the last 7 years there have been numerous examples of re-registration letters never arriving at their destination (for a myriad of reasons beyond the recipient’s control) or arriving with less than 3 days to comply. 

The VSP Barracks are open to accept re-registration Mon-Fri 8:30AM-4PM (no evenings, no weekends, no holidays 

Most VSP Barracks will not allow a Registered Sex Offender to-register without their letter. 

Back in June of 2009 I asked the VSP the following questions and they replied: 

What is the current process for sending out re-registration letters? 

Each business day re-registration letters (SP-236A’s) are computer generated based on the sex offender’s date of initial registration.  If a sex offender has been convicted of Section 18.2-472.1, Failure to Register/Reregister, the re-registration forms are generated by the date of conviction for that violation.  In the event of a weekend or holiday, the letters are generated on the first business day after the weekend or holiday. 

Prior to mailing the letters, a registry official reviews the materials and several databases to ensure the offender is not incarcerated and is required to re-register. 

The re-registration letters are mailed to the sex offender based on the current mailing address on file as reflected on the offender’s SP236 Sex Offender and Crimes against Minors Registration form.  The letter is mailed via the United State Postal Service by certified mail – restricted delivery for the addressee only. 

How far ahead of the due date do are the letters mailed to the registered person? 

The Code of Virginia does not specify a timeframe that the form must be mailed to the sex offender.  However, the form is mailed to the offender approximately 10-12 days prior to the due date. 

What happens when an undelivered letter is returned to the VSP? 

When an undelivered letter is returned to the Registry, an employee reviews the envelope of the returned letter which indicates that the post office made attempt(s) to deliver the letter.  The Registry reviews the offender’s registration file to determine if the offender re-registered by reporting to a law enforcement agency and completing a SP236 Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registration form during his/her re- registration period. Also, the SOR employee conducts inquiries through the jails and correctional facilities to determine if the offender was incarcerated during that timeframe.  If the information indicates a potential violation, the matter is referred to a member of the Sex Offender Investigative Unit for action. 


Why is the state of Virginia printing, processing, mailing and then investigating these extremely expensive letters? This is madness, it makes no sense! 

There are states that set the re-registration months for their Offenders based on their date-of-birth and how often they must register. Then the offender knows year-in-and-year-out when their re-registration is due and it never changes. 

For example in Michigan this is how they divide up re-registrations for their Sex Offenders:  

TIER 1 Birth Month
Reporting Months
January
January
February
February
March
March
April
April
May
May
June
June
July
July
August
August
September
September
October
October
November
November
December
December

TIER 2 Birth Month
Reporting Months
January
January and July
February
February and August
March
March and September
April
April and October
May
May and November
June
June and December
July
January and July
August
February and August
September
March and September
October
April and October
November
May and November
December
June and December

TIER 3 Birth Month
Reporting Months
January
January, April, July, and October
February
February, May, August, and November
March
March, June, September, and December
April
January, April, July, and October
May
February, May, August, and November
June
March, June, September, and December
July
January, April, July, and October
August
February, May, August, and November
September
March, June, September, and December
October
January, April, July, and October
November
February, May, August, and November
December
March, June, September, and December

 
Why can’t Virginia do this? 

The VSP would no longer be wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars every year, the VSP would stop wasting time printing, folding and stuffing these letters, the RSO’s would stop looking for and worrying where their letter is because they must have it to go register and instead of their re-registration deadline being different every year it would be consistent and easier to remember resulting in fewer unintentional violations and less unnecessary and costly investigations. A win-win for everyone! 

It’s not as though the VSP certified letters list all the data previously registered (email addresses and vehicle are all missing) for the Offender to be able to confirm it’s correct or not, they can’t!

The VSP would need to make a note of which dates are observed holidays and of course we all know some months end with 30 and some end with 31 days plus a leap year has just 29 days but we all know this. 

So what’s stopping this change from being done as a VSP Policy implementation? 

The 30 ,90, 180 day and once a year verbiage in Virginia Code § 9.1-904.would need to be removed and the scheduled months based on an RSO’s classification/conviction and their DOB inserted into the code. This means a bill proposing this change in legislation would be needed for a Virginia General Assembly session and a Delegate or a Senator would need to propose it.

For those who register often (every 30 or 90 days) and like to mail-in your registrations (trusting the USPS will deliver it in time) instead of traveling to a VSP Barracks for an in-person registration the VSP could create a blank PDF re-registration form that would be posted on their website and you could print it, fill it out and mail it in. Based on the pre-set and posted due dates for your re-registration based on your DOB. For those without Internet access the VSP Barracks could have a stack of blank forms on the counter for you to grab enough for the year to fill out and mail in. One way or the other you will no longer be waiting for a certified letter to be delivered (or not) with enough time left for you to comply.

If you like this proposal to pre-set all VSP re-registration due dates on a revolving calendar and no longer have to wait for a letter to arrive via USPS ask your Virginia Delegate and Senator to sponsor such a proposal at the upcoming 2015 session in Richmond. Be sure to share the current fiscal costs of the postage only of these letters! 

Please contact them this week!

Do you know who your two State Representatives are? If not, look up Virginia Delegates and Senators.  

Thank you!

Mary Devoy