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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

2016’s SB86 Fiscal Impact Statement has Less DOC Beds and Will Cost Less Money than the Estimates from 2014 and 2015’s But the Number of Convictions Stayed the Same, How Can This Be?


SB86 is the third attempt for Senator Garrett to increase 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. 

Back in 2015 it was SB1138 and in 2014 it was SB442  both died in the Appropriations Committee due to its high cost.  But supposedly for the upcoming 2016 session there is plenty of money available so I’m thinking this time the proposal has a very good chance at passing through the Legislature. 

I contacted the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission with a FOIA request a few weeks back for all the convictions under this statute since 2000 and because the crime is currently a misdemeanor, they advised me that they were unable to fulfill my FOIA request. 

So I’ve compared the 3 years of fiscal impact statements 

  • In 2016 for SB86 the estimate is 29 VA-DOC beds would be needed at a cost of $920,316.00. Estimated 6 year Impact on DOC Beds was FY2017-8, FY2018-17, FY 2019-22, FY2020-26, FY 2021-28 and FY 2022-29.
  • In 2015 for SB1138 the estimate was 33 VA-DOC beds would be needed at a cost of $1,010,913.00. Estimated 6 year Impact on DOC Beds was FY2016-10, FY2017-19, FY 2018-25, FY2019-29, FY 2020-32 and FY 2021-33.
  • In 2014 for SB442 the estimate was 32 VA-DOC beds would be needed at a cost of $960,821.00. Estimated 6 year Impact on DOC Beds was FY2016-10, FY2017-20, FY 2018-26, FY2019-29, FY 2020-31 and FY 2021-32. 
According to the 2016 Fiscal Impact statement:
For FY 2014 AND 2015, 44 Offenders were convicted of this misdemeanor, 17 of which were originally charged with a felony but then they were convicted of this lesser charge.

According to the 2014 Fiscal Impact statement:
For FY 2012 AND 2013, 45 Offenders were convicted of this misdemeanor, 15 of which were originally charged with a felony. 

So these are my questions: 
  1. For the last 4 FY’s in a two period the convictions were off by 1, 45 and then 44. So that means approximate 22 people per year are being convicted so where did an estimate of just 8 beds per year beginning in 2017 come from? 
  2. The number of convictions for the two sets of FY’s is pretty much identical 45 and 44 and in 2014 the estimate was 32 beds over a 6 year period and now in 2016 it’s dropped to 29, why? Shouldn’t it be the same, if not more? 
Mary Devoy