Twitter

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! 
 


Issue #1- The VSP and VA-DOC Probation Aren’t Communicating AND They’re Clerical Errors Could Lead to Issues for Virginia’s RSO's. 

I received this email from an RSO in Norfolk, VA: 

Hello Mary,  

I received a visit from a VSP compliance officer requiring me to fill out a SP-236 because my SOR profile indicated that I was recently placed on Unsupervised probation. (That's odd because my PO didn't release me.) Then I asked if this was a change in policy in cooperation with DOC probation that VSP will do all home visits probation or not. Mr. __________, the said compliance officer, was confused and said no. Business as usual. At this point, according to the SOR, I'm not on probation. Obviously, he said that this will be corrected.  

He also asked for my PO's name and phone number so they can square this away. I am disturbed about a few things: 

According to law, an RSO must resister 3 days upon release of confinement and COMMUNITY SUPERVISION. According the my SOR profile, I failed to register and I could have been arrested, tossed in jail for 3 or more months before I can have my day in court. That has consequences like losing my job, my apartment, etc. even though I'd be acquitted. 

He asked for phone number of my PO. We live in an instant technology world like smart phones, emails, etc. Not very difficult, correct? His lack of phone number to PO's indicates disconnect between VSP and DOC probation.  

Because I have a tactful and critical questioning attitude, I was able to ask questions that can bring up errors. Most SOR's do not because of one reason or another, intimidation, lack of reading and comprehension.  

The compliance officer has ordered me to call him if I have any change that require update on registration. I was not to go to the Norfolk police station where an SOR can update his registration. He wants to make sure that registration is completely 100% correct. This tells me that local police have not been doing the registration correctly. Example, my last update was a few weeks ago and the Norfolk police made the error by checking box on the computer NOT on probation. (The SP-236 I signed does not indicated probation or no probation.) 

The compliance officer gave me the VSP brochure you indicated on your blog. Apparently he's distributing them out. 

The confusion above between VSP and DOC-Probation is extremely concerning, not to mention the RSO is being instructed by the VSP NOT to register with the Norfolk Police when in September I was advised by Lt. Col Kemmler that RSO’s can and should utilize the local authorities. That’s not what VSP Compliance Officers are telling our RSO’s! 

There are serious issues that need addressing in the current system of VSP processes, communication and organization when it comes to the ever growing population of Virginia’s RSO’s. Before one more new law or restriction is passed in Virginia against our RSO's that is pushed through with support from the VSP Legislative Liaisons, these failures, lapses and loopholes need to be rectified. 

I- Take Action: 

  1. Ask Virginia Governor McAuliffe https://governor.virginia.gov/constituent-services/communicating-with-the-governors-office/ to modernize the registration process in Virginia! For 20 years Virginia has been using carbon paper and inter-office mail for Virginia’s RSO’s to register, re-register and update their data. Paper copies and manual input by third parties lead to typos, mistakes, delays and misplaced/lost forms. This leads to unnecessary investigations, charges and costs to the State. It’s time for Virginia to create electronic registrations at VSP Barracks, local authorities and online. Also the VA-DOC, the VSP and the local authorities all need better training on the monitoring and managing of our RSO’s and they need to organize and communicate more effectively with each other.
  2. Tell your one Virginia Delegate and your one Virginia Senator http://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/  to sponsor legislation in 2016 to modernize the registration process in Virginia! For 20 years Virginia has been using carbon paper and inter-office mail for Virginia’s RSO’s to register, re-register and update their data. Paper copies and manual input by third parties lead to typos, mistakes, delays and misplaced/lost forms. This leads to unnecessary investigations, charges and costs to the State. It’s time for Virginia to create electronic registrations at VSP Barracks, local authorities and online. Also the VA-DOC, the VSP and the local authorities all need better training on the monitoring and managing of our RSO’s and they need to organize and communicate more effectively with each other. 

Issue #2- VSP Compliance Officers/Troopers are Giving False and Dangerous Information to Virginia’s RSO's. 

I received this email from an RSO in Northern VA: 

I had a state trooper stop by last week to verify my residence. I wasn't at home, but he left a note to call him as well as one of those pamphlets. 

I pointed out that the pamphlet says registrants can notify the VSP of any account/password changes electronically and that this is not true. He claimed that it was at some time in the past, but he said "the machine broke."  He then said he felt the 30 minute rule was ridiculous and that as far as he was concerned I could take up to 3 business days. This seems like highly dubious advice to me since it would put me in clear violation of Virginia law, no matter how ridiculous it is. He went on to say I could notify him right then over the phone of any updates, which again would have me going around what the law says. All in all, I felt this trooper had only the vaguest understanding of what the law calls for and could unwittingly put registrants in a precarious spot. 

Virginia law § 9.1-903. says “3 days” and “30 minutes” for our RSO’s to comply with an SP-236 form submission otherwise they risk a felony and no VSP Trooper or Compliance Officer should be telling an RSO it’s OK to go 3 days when the law says 30 minutes and the punishment is a Class 6 Felony! And there has NEVER been an electronic system for email updates so the "machine is broke" statement is a complete falsehood. 

I know the VSP and local authorities aren’t open 24 hours a day or 365 days a year to accept registrations, it would not be cost effective. 

But it is 100% clear that Virginia law needs to be amended to say 5 days or 3 business days to allow for:
        1 - 52 Weekends each year
        2- Observed Holidays by the VSP that could ALSO result in a 3-day weekend
§         New Years Day       (January 1st)
§         Independence Day (July 4th)
§         Veteran’s Day         (November 11th)
§         Christmas Day       (December 25th)
                        Note:
Ø      If an observed holiday falls on a Saturday then the VSP Barracks and SO Helpline are closed on Friday.
Ø       If an observed holiday falls on a Sunday then the VSP Barracks and are closed on Monday.
Ø      Christmas Eve and New Years Eve are NOT observed holidays so the VSP Barracks and SO Helpline should be operating.
Ø      The weekdays between Christmas Day and New Years Day are NOT observed holidays so the VSP Barracks and SO Helpline should be operating.
        3- 3-day Weekends Observed by the VSP
§         Memorial Day        (Last Monday in May)
§         Labor Day                 (1st Monday in September)
§         Columbus Day        (2nd Monday in October)
        4- 4-day Weekends Observed by the VSP
§         Lee-Jackson Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day
                                                        (Friday Preceding the 3rd Monday in January and the 3rd Monday in January)
§         Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday
                                                             (4th Thursday and Friday in November) 

Current Virginia code/ law doesn’t align with actual VSP operating hours so that those the code are directed towards can comply. 

I found sponsors in both 2011- HB1628  and 2012- HB416  to fix the “3 day” and “30-minute” discrepancies between Virginia law and VSP hours of operation knowing there is no electronic system for our RSO’s to register. BOTH years the VSP Legislative Liaison’s lobbied against my legislation saying it was unnecessary and the Virginia Delegates in the House Courts of Justice Criminal Sub-Committee listened to the VSP even though they are wrong! 

Legislation is needed for 2016! 

II- Take Action: 

  1. Ask Virginia Governor McAuliffe https://governor.virginia.gov/constituent-services/communicating-with-the-governors-office/ to support and find a sponsor for legislation in January 2016 to amend § 9.1-903. from3 daysto3 Business DaysOR5 days” AND from “30 minutes” ” to3 Business Days” , “5 daysOR implement an on-line/electronic system that is available 365 days per year, 24 hours a day that sends an automatic receipt so that RSO’s can comply with the current “30 minute” law.
  2. Tell your one Virginia Delegate and your one Virginia Senator http://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/  to sponsor legislation in January 2016 to amend § 9.1-903. from3 daysto3 Business DaysOR5 days” AND from “30 minutes” ” to3 Business Days” , “5 daysOR implement an on-line/electronic system that is available 365 days per year, 24 hours a day that sends an automatic receipt so that RSO’s can comply with the current “30 minute” law. 
Please take action today! 

Thank you!

Mary Davye Devoy