Today was the first Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission meeting of 2016; they usually hold 4 meeting per year.
I have been attending these meeting on and off since late-2009 but I always make the first meeting because this is where they have the results for which type of Bills (Legislation) were the most popular during the recent General Assembly session based on fiscal impact requests. This is data I’ve been tracking for a few years now and “Sex Offender” Bills are in the “Top 3” every session with last year (2015) being the ONLY exception.
For 2016, “Sex Offender” Bills/Legislation was #2 in
"Sex Offenders" have the second lowest recidivism rate of ALL crimes and sex crimes are a fraction of the total crimes committed every year. Yet the Virginia General Assembly continues to create new sex crimes, increase misdemeanors to felonies, expand prison sentences, add more registrable offense and restrict and mandate where and what RSO's can be and what they can and can not do year after year.
Why? Because everyone is allowed to hate, control, manage, restrict, ban, fear and shun Sex Offenders. It's an easy law to get full support for and it looks good on a Legislators website and campaign materials.
What I’ve always found interesting is the VCSC Bill count based on Fiscal Impact requests and the actual overall Bill count for the entire General Assembly session; they are at opposite ends of the spectrum. That’s another reason I started charting this data years ago.
The VCSC website will post the agenda and presentations/data from today’s meeting online at some point in the next few days but right now it’s not available for public viewing.
I have the packet from today’s meeting which has allowed me to update the 3 charts I maintain based on these annual VCSC presentations, they are above and below. Also below are the 2005-2015 VCSC Reports where this data came from for anyone who is interested in the source.
- 2016 – Still (May 13, 2016) Not loaded online
A bit of background on Virginia Fiscal Impact Statements…..
v As of July 1, 2000 the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission must prepare a fiscal impact statement for any bill that would result in a net increase in the population of offenders housed in state adult correctional facilities (prisons).
v As of July 1, 2002, the impact statement must:
§ Include an analysis of the impact on local and regional jails as well as state and local community corrections programs; and
§ Detail any necessary adjustments to the sentencing guidelines
v The Commission must estimate the increase in annual operating costs for prison facilities that would result if the proposal is enacted
§ A six-year projection is required
§ The highest single-year increase in operating costs is identified
§ This amount must be printed on the face of the bill
If the Commission does not have sufficient information to project the impact, § 30-19.1:4 states that the words "Cannot be determined" must be printed on the face of the bill.
v For each law enacted that results in a net increase in the prison population, a one-year appropriation must be made
§ Appropriation is equal to the highest single-year increase in operating costs during the six years following enactment
v Appropriations made pursuant to § 30-19.1:4 are deposited into the Corrections Special Reserve Fund
v The Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) prepares a fiscal impact estimate for any bill that would result in a net increase in the juvenile population committed to the state
§ DJJ provides this information to the Commission and a combined statement is submitted to the General Assembly
§ 30-19.1:4 Virginia
v The requirement for an impact statement includes, but is not limited to, proposals that:
1) Add new crimes for which imprisonment is authorized;
2) Increase the periods of imprisonment authorized for existing crimes;
3) Raise the classification of a crime from a misdemeanor to a felony;
4) Impose mandatory terms of imprisonment; or
5) Modify the law governing release of prisoners
v The necessary appropriation is calculated by:
§ Estimating the net increase in the prison population likely to result from the proposal during the six years following enactment
§ Identifying the highest single-year population increase
§ Multiplying that figure by the cost of holding a prison inmate for a year (operating costs, excluding capital costs)
v Additional impact analyses may be conducted at the request of:
§ House Appropriations staff
§ Senate Finance staff
§ Department of Planning and Budget staff
§ Office of the Secretary of Public Safety