Friday, October 14, 2016

Virginia Budget Crisis Means it's Time to Consider Some VSP Registry Reform in 2017

Dear Virginia Delegates, Senators and Administration, 

Good morning. 

According to yesterdays news the Virginia State Police are facing a budget crisis. 

Troopers 'fleeing' the department, state police association says

McAuliffe budget cuts include 26 layoffs, set stage for new bid to expand Medicaid
The moves also will replace $5.5 million in general funds for state police with money from four special funds, including one earmarked for technology upgrade of the sex offender registry.

On Tuesday I sent you all an email reminding you that in 2015 the VSP Registered Sex Offender certified letters cost $10.48 each, 55,757 were mailed-out at a cost of $584,333 JUST for the postage per year.  Also that I’ve been proposing for a few years now, to eliminate these wasteful USPS letters, but so far no Virginia Legislator has been willing to propose the needed legislation because of Virginia Code.  

Today I am re-emailing you a second proposal I’ve been making for a few years that would reduce the annual cost (2015- $8.4 Mil) of the VSP Registry. 

It would be to allow the approximate 17% of the VSP Registry who are classified as Non-Violent to be automatically removed on their 15th anniversary instead of requiring them to hire an attorney, 2 therapists and file a court petition that would be opposed by the Commonwealth’s Attorney and VSP which would most likely be denied by the judge because no one wants to sign-off on the removal of an RSO from the VSP Registry.  

Finally I’d like to remind all of you at every Virginia General Assembly session the VSP Legislative Liaisons push for more sexual felonies, longer restrictions on RSO’s (being applied retroactively by the VSP) and more Virginians being swept up onto the VSP Registry, and you all usually agree with them even if there is no evidence the expansion is needed, it just sounds tough. Many previous RSO Bills over the years have been passed during GA sessions and because the VSP was planning on applying them retroactively the additional costs were never discussed or captured by the House and Senate Finance/Appropriations Committees.  

The $8.4 million costs for 2015 didn’t include the incarcerated RSO’s (approximately 1/3 of VA RSO total) or the VA-DOC supervised RSO’s (approximately 1/3 of VA RSO total) except for their VSP Re-registration letters. This means every year the cost of the VSP managing and monitoring our RSO population will only increase as those RSO's are released from prison and VA-DOC supervision.  

You might not want to admit my proposals make sense or that you shouldn’t always agree with the VSP Legislative Liaisons every time they support expansion of the VSP Registry but the current costs of the VSP Registry and our budget crisis should be reason enough to consider some reforms are truly needed at the 2017 General Assembly. 


Mary Devoy