Twitter

Friday, October 30, 2015

Scott Daugherty: How Dangerous are Sex Offenders on Halloween? ......OR....... Police to Keep Close Eye on Sex Offenders at Halloween ......OR....... Officers to keep close eye on sex offenders at Halloween


WHY DID the Article Title AND Link Change 7 hours AFTER posting on V.P.'s website? 

                2nd Title and link: Police to keep close eye on sex offenders at Halloween
               
http://hamptonroads.com/2015/10/police-keep-close-eye-sex-offenders-hallow
 

                3rd Title and link: Officers to keep close eye on sex offenders at Halloween

The first title (below) fit the subject of the article; the second/third indulges the unfounded fears of parents and the myth-based VA-DOC Halloween program. 
 
Well, at least the print (paper) version of the article had the better title!

Mary
 

Original Title:
How dangerous are sex offenders on Halloween? October 30, 2015
By Scott Daugherty
State and federal probation agents plan to keep a close eye this Halloween on registered sex offenders - at least those still under their supervision. 

Some sex offenders living in Chesapeake, Hampton and Newport News will have to attend special meetings during prime trick-or-treating hours. Under threat of jail, others must stay indoors with their front porch lights dark while local and state police conduct random visits. 

Virginia Department of Corrections officials cast the initiative - now in its 15th year - as a way to protect children from possible sexual abuse. A spokeswoman for the U.S. probation office said it's meant to "reduce risk to the children of the community on Halloween night." 

Advocates for reforming the nation's laws governing sex offenders, however, decry the special meetings and home visits as a waste of resources. They cite a 2009 academic study to claim there is no evidence children are more at risk of being molested by a stranger on Halloween than on any other night.
 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Halloween 2015 Do’s and Don’ts for Virginia’s Registered Sex Offenders


Update:

As of October 31, 2015 3:15PM no VA-DOC Press Release has been posted about the Halloween program. I’m not sure what this means. Did they send it to all the news outlets and just forget to post it on their website OR did they actually NOT do a press release for 2015?
 
I’m hoping for the latter. 

Mary 

 
Original Post: 
 
Saturday is Halloween! 

So far, I’ve been contacted by one Virginia Television station and one Virginia newspaper about Halloween and “Sex Offenders” this week. 

I have already posted a few times before today about the upcoming holiday for RSO’s:
I expect the VA-DOC’s Halloween press release will come out today but it could be tomorrow. 

So what can and can't you do on Halloween as a Registered Sex Offender (RSO) in Virginia? 

In Virginia there is no law prohibiting RSO’s from participating in Halloween activities.
RSO’s  can:
  1. Have their front door light on
  2. Decorate their home/yard
  3. Wear a costume
  4. Accompany their own children or grand-children trick-or-treating
  5. Answer their door and hand out candy
  6. Attend a Halloween party
BUT, if the RSO is under Virginia’s Department of Correction Probation Supervision then there MAY be restrictions specific to THAT RSO that they MUST follow or face a probation violation (a felony).

 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Marshall Project: Is Halloween Really More Dangerous for Kids? A Lack of Evidence Doesn’t Stop Cities from Rounding Up Sexual Offenders on the Holiday.



Is Halloween Really More Dangerous for Kids? October 28, 2015
A lack of evidence doesn’t stop cities from rounding up sexual offenders on the holiday.
By Anat Rubin

 This story was produced in collaboration with Mic. 

Before the sun sets on Halloween, Allen O’Shea will make his way to the local courthouse in Gaston County, N.C., where he will remain for several hours under the watchful eye of law enforcement until trick-or-treating has ended. 

This will be O’Shea’s first Halloween as a registered sex offender, a label he earned after having consensual sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 19. He admits he was wrong. Still, being held in custody because costumed children are walking the streets asking for candy strikes him as absurd.  

“My crime had nothing to do with kids,” he said. “I made a 19-year-old mistake. I didn’t go and molest a 5-year-old, and I’m being treated as someone who did.”  

The consequences of ending up on a state sex offender registry are harsh, making it extremely difficult to find a job or even a place to live.  

But on no day is the fallout stranger than it is on Halloween.
 
Despite research showing no evidence that children are at greater risk of experiencing sex abuse on Halloween than on any other day, states and localities around the country impose severe restrictions on registered sex offenders during the holiday.  

Some, including parts of Virginia, Georgia, Delaware and Texas, require sex offenders on probation or parole report to designated locations. Others, such as Missouri, Florida and Nevada, direct some offenders to post signs on their doors that say, “No candy or treats at this residence.” Broader restrictions in most states direct people on the registry to keep their lights off to deter trick-or-treaters and stay away from children in costumes in their neighborhood or at the local mall.
 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Hateful Things College Students Say About the Innocent


I follow/read a large number of blogs, websites and news outlets daily. You can see my website list on the right side of the Home Page under header Other Sites and I add the links to articles here http://goo.gl/95SaH6  and archived 2015 articles are here http://goo.gl/58rBbA . 

One of the blogs I check regularly is Community of Wrongly Accused. Now there have been some previous posts over at COWTA that I’ve shaken my head at and even sighed disappointedly, but there have been other posts that were spot-on and that’s why I weigh the good with the bad. 

I’m sure there are readers here that might say the same about my posts. 

Today COWTA’s post is a good one and I’ve decided it’s worth sharing here. 

Mary
 

The hateful things college students say about the innocent, October 27, 2015

"We would rather see an innocent bystander injured, maimed, or killed in a high-speed police chase than see someone get away after a lawful police stop."

I would be shocked if any self-respecting newspaper editorial board would write anything so unbalanced and so cavalierly dismissive of the innocent. That's because respect for innocent life is deeply-ingrained in the American psyche.

Except when it comes to one class of innocents.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Lenore Skenazy Over at Free-Range Kids Posts About an Autistic Man Who is in Jail with $100,000 Bail Simply for Talking to Some Kids


Autistic Man in Jail for Talking to Some Kids, October 25, 2015
By Lenore Skenazy

A Philadelphia area man with autism is being held on $100,000 bail for talking to some children.
 

Eric Adler: Brodie Leap says he felt pressured as a boy to say his father Earnest Leap had touched him inappropriately. Now 31, Brodie is trying to get his father’s name off Missouri’s sex offender registry. Across the U.S., more are questioning the public benefit, legality and appropriateness of registries.

Earnest Leap and Brodie Leap (right)

Update:
Radley Balko: Son falsely accuses father of sexual abuse, spends life trying to undo the damage, October 29, 2015
 
 

‘Lie’ begets lifetime of regret for Clay County father, son, October 24, 2015
By Eric Adler
·         Brodie Leap says he felt pressured as a boy to say his father had touched him inappropriately
·         Now 31, Brodie is trying to get his father’s name off Missouri’s sex offender registry
·         Across the U.S., more are questioning the public benefit, legality and appropriateness of registries
 

Brodie Leap was 5 years old when he told what he now calls The Lie. 

He says he knew it was a lie the second he said it. He is 31 now, living in Oakview in Clay County, and he has known his entire life that it wasn’t true. 

“Have you been touched down there?” his mother asked him.

Leap insists he told the truth at first. “No,” he recalls repeating to his mother as she asked him time and again. The date was Dec. 1, 1989. Karen Leap, then 36, was asking her son about his father and her ex-husband, Earnest Leap. 

The couple, separated for three years, had just ended their seven-year marriage that September. Despite their bitter parting, the parents received joint custody of Brodie and his toddler brother, Josh. 

To Karen Leap’s grave disappointment, Earnest Leap was named prime custodial parent, meaning the boys lived mostly with him. 

“Have you been touched down there?” 

The answer that Brodie Leap finally uttered, and which for the past eight years he has declared in affidavits he felt hounded to give, continues to haunt the life of his father, who both Leap brothers attest has been the most supportive and positive force in their lives.
 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

2 Action Items: #1- The VSP and VA-DOC Probation Aren’t Communicating AND They’re Clerical Errors Could Lead to Issues for Virginia’s RSO's. #2- VSP Compliance Officers/Troopers are Giving False and Dangerous Information to Virginia’s RSO's.


I received 2 separate emails back in September from RSO’s almost immediately following my meeting with the Virginia State Police. 

I then shared the content in the two emails with the VSP asking for them not only to address the issues but to support legislation in 2016 to fix one of the known problems, they never responded. 

So then I shared the content with the Virginia Legislators who are running for re-election in November because they MUST be addressed. 

Now, I’m sharing these two issues with all of you and I’m asking that your take action! 
 

Kasey Farris: Please Don't Threaten My Son For Dating Your Daughter


I came across this on WTVR.com who picked it up after Huffington Post. 

Now, this has NOTHING to do with Sex Offenders BUT it does have to do with Double-Standards (Male v. Female), Teenagers Being Interested in Sex is Natural NOT Deviant, Consent as a Teen and Taking Accountability for Your Actions and Decisions all issues I have posted about in the past and that have lead to new sex laws that are overly broad, vague and questionably unconstitutional (Yes Means Yes)……..ALL while lowering the burden of proof and raising the penalties creating more Registered Sex Offenders. 

Mary
 

Please Don't Threaten My Son For Dating Your Daughter, October 22, 2015
By Kasey Farris

There's a story in the news this week about how a well-meaning father took pictures with his arms around his daughter's Homecoming date; mimicking the couple's pose. A comment was later added, and the picture posted on social media. "Whatever you do to my daughter, I will do to you." The original article came out on a Fox News affiliate in Orlando, and was dubbed "hilarious".  

Now. The full story is that both families were at the photo shoot and it was intended to be a joke, okay'ed by everyone involved. Therein, I'm not trying to judge this particular story, more use it as an example of the old-fashioned norms in which we continue to mindlessly participate.  

While the role of overprotective father is not a new one, it is a tired concept that needs to just die, already. Aside from the assumption that my daughter (yes, I also have daughters) is incapable of good judgement and protecting herself and her standards, this ridiculous concept imagines my sons likewise incapable of the same good judgement and standards.  

"But I've been/known a teenage boy," You say. "I know how they think." 

Which is total baloney. Because here's the thing -- thoughts are not equal to actions. And rationalizing that young men have overwhelming urges that cloud their judgement and force them to make poor decisions regarding young women is nothing more than excusing bad behavior. "Boys will be boys" needs to STOP.  

My oldest son is 16 and his life does not need to be threatened when he takes his date out for dinner. My son is 16 and yet he has enough sense to be respectful to his grandmother, his mother, his sisters, and, amazingly, his girlfriend. I, as his mother, take offense to the thought that he is some hormone-drunk sloppy boner-machine (man he's going to hate me for writing that phrase in a public forum) who is completely blinded to good sense and morality. I have raised my son to be respectful and responsible young man, and he portrays those qualities in outside situations, as well.  

It's not "funny" to threaten my son. It's not "cute" to treat your daughter as if she has zero common sense.
 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Expensive School Security Identification Systems Routinely Misidentify Parents, Grandparents and Volunteers as Sexual Offenders, the Latest Humiliating Incident Happened in Woodbridge Virginia


Update:
Tech company blames human error by school employee for mistaken sex offender mishap, October 23, 2015


Va. father mistakenly flagged as sex offender while visiting daughter's school on her birthday, October 22, 2015
By Tisha Lewis

WOODBRIDGE, Va. - A Woodbridge father showed up to his daughter's elementary school to surprise her for her birthday. However, for 8-year-old Aniya Williams, it’s a birthday she will remember, but for all the wrong reasons.  

“I started passing out cupcakes, doing all the meet and greets and then I see three officers come in,” said Aniya’s father, Justin. “I didn't know what was going on. They approached me [and said], ‘Are you the sexual offender?’ I'm like, ‘Whoa, what are you talking about?’” 

Justin Williams said the mix-up happened in the middle of River Oaks Elementary School's cafeteria. 

Prince William County police arrived at the school after Williams showed identification to a school employee and his name produced an alert.  

“Then they said, ‘You're the sexual offender from Washington State,’” Williams explained to FOX 5. “I've never been to Washington state. I said, ‘Can we step outside? There's a lot of kids right here.'"
 

Cathy Young: Campus Sexual Assault and a Modern "Crucible"


Campus Sexual Assault and a Modern "Crucible", October 22, 2015
By Cathy Young

The centennial of the great American playwright Arthur Miller, born in New York on October 17, 1915, has been noted in articles and recognized with commemorative events and editions of his works. For all the tributes, Miller (who died 10 years ago) seems more a relic than a living voice on today’s cultural scene; his earnest old-style liberal leftism alienates both conservatives and modern-day progressives obsessed with racial and sexual identities. 

Yet one of his most famous works, “The Crucible” — a mostly fact-based dramatic account of the 17th century Salem witch trials — is startlingly relevant to today’s culture wars, in ways that Miller himself might have recognized.

Everyone knows that Miller’s 1952 play was his response to McCarthyism, with the witchcraft hysteria an allegory for the anti-Communist panic. (The latter, unlike the former, was grounded in a real danger; but, contrary to some recent claims on the right, the McCarthyite paranoia that swept up many innocent people in its wide net was quite real as well.) In 1996, when Miller wrote a screenplay adaptation for the film version of “The Crucible,” many saw a metaphor for the day-care sexual abuse panic that had swept the country a few years earlier, with men and women arrested on suspicion of lurid acts and Satanic rituals. 

When I recently watched a webcast of the compelling 2014 production of the paly at London’s Old Vic theater, I was struck by the parallels to another panic we are witnessing now: the one over “rape culture” and, in particular, the “campus rape epidemic.”
 
“Believe the victim” — the mantra of today’s feminist anti-rape movement — is a remarkably prominent theme in Miller’s play. At one point, Deputy Gov. Danforth, who presides over the trials, notes that unlike “an ordinary crime,” witchcraft is by its nature invisible: “Therefore, who may possibly be witness to it? The witch and the victim. None other. Now we cannot hope the witch will accuse herself; granted? Therefore, we must rely upon her victims—and they do testify.” Today, advocates for “survivors” of sexual violence argue that since such crimes virtually always take place in private, especially when victim and offender know each other, it is imperative to believe those who come forward with accusations.
 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Did You Know That the Virginia State Police No Longer Gives a Copy/Receipt to RSO’s to Prove They Re-Registered Before Their Deadline?

Sign Here to Confirm What We Have on File is Correct & Current!
 

Since 2007, October in my house means..........it’s Re-Registration month. 

First there is waiting for the VSP certified letter (that an RSO must have to re-register) to be delivered via USPS:
  • Will we be home or out when they attempt delivery?
  • Will the USPS delivery person actually attempt delivery at the door or just leave a post card stating delivery was attempted when it wasn’t (like in 2009) and now the letter is sitting at the local post office and has to be picked up there?
  • Will the USPS worker allow me to sign for it (instead of the RSO who is at work, since we filed a letter at the local post office back in 2010 giving me permission) or will the USPS worker tell me that doesn’t matter and he has to sign for it?
  • Will there be enough days (letters are mailed-out by the VSP 10-12 days before they are due with no adjustments being made for weekends or holidays ) from receiving the letter until the due date to get to a VSP Barracks while they are open (Mon-Fri 8:30-4PM) without having to miss any work?
  • Will the letter get lost/misplaced by the USPS (like in 2010) and until the VSP contact the USPS at your request no one really bothers to look for it?

Take Action Today!


Back on October 8th I posted that I had attended a few meetings over the past few months but did not say with whom. I did say some Action Items could follow, one already was posted. 

Well today I’m going to a post two more based on what I was advised in a meeting with Virginia State Police last month.
 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Virginia Department of Corrections 2015 Halloween Operation Trick-No-Treat / Operation Lights-Out “Lock-Down” for Registered Sex Offenders in Full Swing in Norfolk


Back on October 8th I posted about Halloween in Virginia for RSO’s under VADOC Probation supervision. 


Since then I received the above letter from an RSO in Norfolk. 

So far not one news outlet in Virginia has run a story on “Sex Offenders and Halloween” and it’s still too early for the Virginia Department of Corrections Halloween press release. 

Stay tuned for more myth-based Halloween Hysteria against RSO's in the Commonwealth! 

Mary Devoy

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Johns Hopkins, Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse Weighs in on the Hysteria Against Registered Sex Offenders on Halloween



Halloween is the Safest Day of the Year

It’s that spooky time of year again. Halloween is a candy-fueled holiday children often look forward to celebrating. Many dress in costumes, trick-or-treat with friends and neighbors and carve pumpkins with their families. It can also be spooky for parents as sex offender hysteria grows in intensity with every news story about the dangers of convicted sex offenders harming children on Halloween night. 

A study conducted by several child sexual abuse prevention researchers sets the record straight about what parents should be (and shouldn’t be) concerned about.
 

Virginia DMV Driver's License Renewals Can NOT be Done On-line or Through the Mail if You are a Registered Sex Offender, You MUST Visit a DMV Location and Pay an Extra $5 for that Privilege!


Dear Mr. Chesley, 

I just read your article http://hamptonroads.com/2015/10/do-yourselves-favor-virginians-stop-going-dmv-no-reason about DMV transactions that could and should be done online or through the mail instead of in-person at a DMV location. 

Just an FYI for you:  

As of July 1, 2008 Virginia Driver’s Licenses that were valid for eight years dropped to five years for all Registered Sex-Offenders (2008’s- HB534) AND RSO’s were no longer allowed to renew their driver’s licenses on-line or through the mail but ONLY in-person. 

Now, because of the DMV’s push for Virginians to renew on-line or through the mail instead of at a DMV location they added a $5 processing fee for renewals done in-person.  

So for the last 7 years Virginia's RSO have had NO CHOICE but to go in-person to a DMV location and remember their license is only valid for five years, not eight. And they are forced to pay the extra $5 every 5 years simply because they are an RSO.
 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Rodney Roberts Wrongfully Incarcerated for 7 Years and Then Civilly Committed as an SVP for 10 More Years – Just Because Someone Takes a Guilty Plea or an Alford Plea Deal Doesn’t Mean They Committed the Crime it's a Tragic Fact of the American Justice System That Most Want to Deny or Willfully Ignore



An Exoneree’s Story: ‘They Never Envisioned Making a Mistake’, October 5, 2015
By Graham Kates

Seventeen years after Rodney Roberts was first incarcerated for a kidnapping and rape he did not commit, he was exonerated and freed on March 14, 2014.  Though sentenced to seven years incarceration, he was involuntarily committed for another 10 years by the State of New Jersey to a sex offender treatment facility, and the case he was convicted for remains unsolved. 

Roberts, now 47, is one of countless individuals who have been victimized by a criminal justice system that relies on plea deals struck between over-burdened public defenders and comparatively well-funded prosecutors. 

In a poignant conversation with TCR’s Graham Kates, he describes the shattering effect his years behind bars as an innocent man left on him—and why getting out of prison hasn’t ended his problems. Roberts, who now lives with his family in Newark, where he works odd jobs to get by, suggests changes in the judicial system that could prevent others from going through what he experienced.  
 

Monday, October 12, 2015

3 Action Items: As of July 1 2015 Virginia’s Local Police and Sherriff’s Departments Can NOT Turn RSO’s Who are Attempting to Register, Re-Register or Update Their Photograph Away…… and if They Do the Administration Wants to Know About it Immediately Because They’ll Lose Funding!


Update: A 3rd Action Item was added after posting, be sure to check the end of this post!


Dear Readers, 

Over the last 7 years I have heard from so many of you who have had no luck or extreme difficulties when attempting to re-register or when needing to make a change in your residence, employment, vehicles, email or phone numbers at your local sheriff or police (county or city) department. 

Many of you have waited for hours in the lobby of your local police department waiting for someone to just fill out a form, some of you have been told they will only take your SO information one or two days a week during specific hours, some of you have been told they have no camera to take your 2 year SO photo…….then some of you who got the local authority to do the paperwork they either failed to get it to the VSP before your deadline OR they lost it all together resulting in an investigation of failure-to-register against you by the VSP.  

BUT….MOST of you who have contacted me over the years have been flat-out-denied to register any SO information with the local authorities, period! 

They have turned you away telling you that you MUST go to a Virginia State Police (VSP) Barracks even though your deadline might be that day or that hour (if an email address) and we all know the VSP Barracks not open 7 days a week/365 days a year (July 9, 2015 post ) nor is there a Barracks in every town, the nearest VSP location could be a 2+ hour drive each way!  

Well as of July 1st 2015 that should all be over.
 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

What are Young People Hearing? Getting the Message Right By Jon Brandt, MSW, LICSW


What are Young People Hearing? Getting the Message Right October 10, 2015

Social rules and laws around interpersonal sexual conduct are culturally defined but locally enforced.  It is up to adults to help young people know the expectations, navigate the hazards of interpersonal sex, and understand that there are a lot things that can go wrong.  When sexual violations occur, it is also the responsibility of adults to help young people make sense of what happened, and whether they might be a victim or an offender, help guide them through recovery. 

Sometimes sexual violence is so horrific, that culpability is clear.  But other times sexual violations occur under ambiguous or mitigating circumstances.  When this is the case, too often adults ignore the social complexity of interpersonal sexual behavior, overreach with interventions, and send distorted, polarizing messages to young people.  When kids are involved in sexual violations, as a victim or an offender, what are the messages that they are getting from adults?   Do these messages help young people understand what happened, or do they just leave them more confused, full of anger or shame, or feeling hopeless?  Three cases to illustrate…
 

SVP Civil Commitment in Virginia a Slate.com Interview of a VCBR “Resident”: “It’s Worse Than Prison” By Leon Neyfakh


“It’s Worse Than Prison” October 9, 2015
Reginald Artis served 27 years behind bars. But just because her sentence was up didn’t mean she got to go free.
By Leon Neyfakh

Reginald Artis is a transgender woman from Chesapeake, Virginia, who was sent to prison in 1987 for a sex crime she committed at age 23, when she still identified as a man, against a 17-year-old. The sentence Artis was given meant that as long as she stayed out of trouble while doing her time, she’d be released from prison in 2012. Artis, who is now 52, counted down the days as she waited to go home to her family. 

Then something unexpected happened: A few months before she was supposed to be released, Artis was told by a prison counselor that she was a candidate for something called civil commitment. A doctor would be coming to the prison to evaluate her, the counselor said, to determine whether she was at risk for committing another sex crime. If the doctor decided she was, that testimony would be presented to a judge, and Artis would likely be sent to a facility to receive treatment. She would be held indefinitely at that facility until the state decided it was safe to let her out. 

Artis could not believe it. She had never heard of civil commitment, and she didn’t understand how it could be possible that after serving her prison sentence without incident, she would not be allowed to go home. After a judge heard the case—and reviewed the results of a risk assessment questionnaire Artis had taken at the behest of the doctor who visited her in prison—that was exactly what happened. On Jan. 13, 2013, after 27 years of being locked up in one institution, Artis found herself locked up in another one. 

The Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation is not, strictly speaking, a prison: The more than 300 people who are housed there do not live in locked cells, and they are able to use the phone to communicate with the outside world. But they are not allowed to leave. Like Artis, they have been designated sexually violent predators by the state after completing questionnaires designed to identify urges or mental conditions that make them likely to commit further sexual crimes. While living at VCBR, people undergo treatment for these urges, in the form of group therapy and classes, that can last for many years; unlike in prison, they do not have release dates to look forward to and are only freed when judges decide they are no longer a threat to society.   

The Virginia law that allows for the indefinite, postprison detention of people who are considered likely to commit sex crimes in the future mirrors similar laws in 19 other states and at the federal level. Recently, such laws have come under attack, with federal judges in Missouri and Minnesota declaring them unconstitutional. In the meantime, according to the New York Times, there are approximately 5,000 people being detained in this way across the country.
 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The 3rd Virginia Parole Review Commission Meeting and 1st Virginia State Crime Commission Meeting for 2015


Over many of the last few weeks I have participated in and attended multiple meetings.

Including with a civil rights group, with Administration members and with individual Virginia Legislators all on RSO issues in Virginia.

Now I can not post about these private meetings but I want you to know this is what I do on the off-season to educate, looking for sponsors, address current issues/problems and to ramp up for the upcoming General Assembly session. And I do it at my own cost; I do not ask you for donations all I ever ask is that you take action on Action Items……and there could be some upcoming Action Items resulting from some of these recent meetings. 

Last week I attended two public meetings and I missed a third public meeting the week before due to a conflict, all of the Presentations for these 3 public meetings are supposed to be online so everyone can view them. 

They were:
1. The Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission Meeting on September 21st, which I missed.
2. The Virginia Parole Review Commission Meeting on September 28th, which I attended. All presentations were supposed to be posted at vpb.virginia.gov/parole-commission but as of 10/08 that page has not been created. I even called the Parole Board web-contact last week asking when the page would be created and my phone call was the first she was hearing of a page.
3. The Virginia State Crime Commission Meeting on September 29th, which I attended. 
 
There isn’t really anything specific for me to highlight about any of these 3 meetings but I am monitoring what all three groups are working on for possible legislation in January 2016 and if anything is mentioned at one of their upcoming meetings that is significant I will post about it.

 
Mary Devoy

Halloween 2015 is 3 Weeks Away, Will the Virginia Department of Corrections be Promoting the Myth-Based Operation Trick-or-Treat AND Operation Lights-Out with a Press Release or Not?



Last year during the VA CURE Conference (a week and a half after Halloween) I asked, Director of Reentry Programs for the Virginia Department of Corrections (VA-DOC ) Ms. Scott Richeson about the VA-DOC Halloween Programs for Registered Sex Offenders (RSO’s). 

I did this because in 2014 the VA-DOC regurgitated the same Press Release (see above) to every media outlet in the Commonwealth on the DOC Halloween programs Operation Trick-or-Treat AND Operation Lights-Out for those RSO’s under DOC Probation.  

I also learned last year that some RSO’s under VA-DOC supervision were instructed to post signs on their front doors (see below) to stop trick-or-treaters from ringing their bell or knocking on their door. 

I pointed out these programs and the Press Releases announcing them as successful are in fact “barriers” for the successful reentry of former offenders who are also RSO’s, running contrary to the message the VA-DOC was sending at the Virginia CURE conference of fact-based programs to create successful reentries for former-offenders. 

Knowing that Halloween 2015 is just 3 weeks away and anticipating that the VADOC probably plans to continue the charade of promoting these VA-DOC programs as preventative measures when the VADOC is actually perpetuating an urban-myth that everyone listed on the Virginia Registry is looking for new victims and Halloween provides them with an opportunity that they don’t have the other 364 days of the year (even though RSO's recidivism rate is the 2nd LOWEST of ALL crimes) I have contacted the Virginia DOC and Sect. of Public Safety. Maybe 2015 will finally be the end to this madness! 

Before these VA-DOC programs existed and since, there has NOT been one case of a Registered Sex Offender abducting, molesting or killing a child or an adult on October 31st. But yet year-after-year the Administration continues to advertise and implement these Halloween programs that deny former-offenders, their spouses and children from participating in Halloween activities on the holiday, that holds a felony over their head (even if the original conviction was a misdemeanor) if they fail to show up to the Probation office for the “lock-down” or to keep their lights off. These steps are not preventative but they are punitive because by doing so the Commonwealth  is telling all of their neighbors that the ex-offender, no matter how long ago their conviction was, no matter how much therapy they participated and no matter what debt they’ve paid to their victim and society……….the State is highlighting them as a significant danger on Halloween because they go the extra mile to notify the local news stations and the newspapers so a story is run about these smoke-screen VA-DOC programs.