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Friday, January 1, 2016

Action Item: $584,333.00 was spent in 2015 for Virginia State Police on Postage Alone to Mail Out Certified Letters to RSO’s


Back on September 28, 2014 I posted about a Fiscally Responsible Proposal I had made to the Virginia State Police Leadership, to all 140 Virginia Legislators and to the Governors Office. It was to eliminate the USPS certified re-registration letters (SP-236A forms) mailed out by the Virginia State Police (VSP) to our Registered Sex offenders (RSO) and to switch Virginia to a rotating re-registration schedule based on an RSO’s DOB like Michigan (see schedule below).

Without this letter (SP-236A form) in hand the VSP and the local authorities will NOT allow an RSO to re-register so if an RSO is leaving town and attempting to be pro-active knowing they might miss the letter they are turned-away from their legal requirement to re-register by that date. 

Many times when these certified letters finally arrive to their destination there may be just a day or two left before the deadline forcing the RSO to miss work to comply or face a felony charge. 

Back on September 28, 2014 I had estimated the number of USPS certified letters that the VSP sent out in 2013 to the 8,145 RSO’s under VSP supervision (total RSO population of 20,360) being approximately 29,800 letters at an approximate cost just for the postage ($9.00 per letter) of $268,200.00 . 

In 2014 the cost of postage for a USPS certified letter increased to $10.18 per letter and the number of RSO’s under VSP supervision increased to 8,726. 

In 2015 the cost of postage for a USPS certified letter increased to $10.48 per letter and the number of RSO’s under VSP supervision increased to 9,233. 

A few days back I learned exactly how many certified letters the VSP mailed out from January 1 to December 29 2015 and how much it cost the VSP.
 


In 2015 the VSP mailed out 55,757 certified letters at a cost of $584,333.00. 

But there are only 9,233 RSO’s under VSP supervision for 2015 how can this be? 

It turns out that the VSP mail’s out certified letters to the RSO’s who are under VA-DOC Probation supervision. In 2013 that would have been 3,502 Probationers, in 2014 3,478 Probationers and in 2015 3,538. 

This makes no sense. RSO’s who are under VA-DOC supervision are supposed to by managed and monitored by their VA-DOC Probation Officer. Their Probation Officer (I thought) is supposed to notify the VSP of any data changes the RSO has because the Probation Officer does the RSO’s residential and employment checks (not the VSP). 

Per an email from the VSP on 12/30/15 an RSO who is under VA-DOC Probation supervision must notify their Probation Officer AND the VSP (or Local Authority) of any change in information (SP-236 form) and re-registrations (SP-236A form) that is sent USPS certified mail) to the VSP or Local Authorities. 

So RSO’s under Probation are running between both the VSP AND the VA-DOC (under the threat of a felony) and the VSP’s costs are NOT just for the RSO’s under VSP Supervision but also those on Probation.

These certified letters are a HUGE waste of time and money for both the State and our RSO’s 55,757 letters to 12,771 RSO’s at a cost of $584,333.00 for one year!
Every year a large number of these letters are intentionally not-delivered or “lost” by US Postal employees who know they are intended for an RSO. 

The majority of these letters are NOT signed for by the RSO at their front door. The majority are picked up at the local post office because either the RSO was at work when the USPS attempted delivery OR because the USPS delivery person NEVER attempted delivery and the only way to avoid a felony is to go to the local Post Office and raise a “stink”. So any claim by the VSP that the delivery of these letters assists the VSP in confirming an RSO actually resided at that address is a misguided justification because “change” is scary and sometimes change that will save money in the long run requires more effort in the beginning. 

 2016 needs to be the year the Virginia Legislature addresses these costly letters and switches to a rotating re-registration schedule like Michigan. 

Virginia could easily switch to preset re-registration dates.
  1. Those with last names beginning with A-L register from the 1st to the 15th of the month.
  2. Those with last names beginning with M-Z register from the 16th to the last day of the month.
  3. The below list including observed holidays would be posted on the VSP website.
  4. The below list including observed holidays would be handed out during RSO residency checks and re-registrations for the next 9 to 12 months notifying all RSO’s that re-registration letters will stop going out and the first batch of handouts would need to have the start date when the rotation begins and the letters stop.
  5. Copies of the below list would need to be on the counter at every VSP Barracks and Local Authority.
  6. And the next re-registration due date for all RSO’s would need to be put back on every Offenders VSP Internet Posting as it was prior to 2010.
  7. The VSP and Local Authorities would either have blank SP-236A forms to be filled out OR they could enter it all directly into a computer electronically, being sent immediately to VSP Headquarters, no more paper copies being transported and then entered by hand. 

Annual Re-registrations             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

 
Semi-Annual Re-registrations   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

 
Quarterly Re-registrations         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

 
For the Offenders who must re-register every 30 days, just divide them up by last names A-L register from the 1st to the 15th of every month and M-Z register from the 16th to the last day of every month. 

So what’s stopping this change from occurring? 

The 30 day and 90 day 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 (I believe).  

A Virginia Legislator needs to be willing to sponsor this proposal as a Bill for the 2016 General Assembly session. 

I would also suggest that the photo due dates get synced up with a re-registration date as the VSP has ignored the every 2 year language the Legislature placed in code and they count the due date as every 730 days even if a re-registration date is no where near it. If letters are no longer mailed out then the photo due date needs to be based on a DOB rotating schedule too. 

Plus I would suggest the VSP return the next registration due date onto every RSO’ VSP page, why the VSP removed  that info back in 2010 or 2011 it is an unknown and doing so has made it much more difficult for our RSO’s to know when they are due to re-register. 

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 2016 session in Richmond.  

Please contact them Now! 

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

Thank you! 

Mary Devoy