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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

50 States: Juvenile Registration as Sex Offenders - Public, Private or Not at All? Revised List as of October 17, 2017


Impact Justice / National Juvenile Justice Network have had a 50 State Juvenile Registration Snapshot that I was intending to compare to my 3-4-year-old 50 State Juvenile List but I just had never gotten around to it, plus I had seen a few errors about Virginia in the Snapshot, I was in no hurry to update my old list. 

But then I was asked by Impact Justice last week to review the VA information in their current Snap Shot as they are planning on an update in the near future. I was very happy to assist them in getting the VA information corrected. 

So today I had the time to compare the data from the 49 other States and Washington D.C. to update my own chart that had taken me weeks to fill out and even then, I was missing New Mexico, New York, North Dakota and Oregon, boy did my chart need updating. 
 

Halloween 2017 Do’s and Don’ts for Virginia’s Registered Sex Offenders


Halloween 2017 is two weeks from today. 

What Can and Can't Registered Sex Offenders (RSO’s) in Virginia legally do on and around the Halloween holiday? 

Well it depends. 
  • If you or your loved-one are NOT under VADOC Probation supervision see I.
  • If you or your loved-one are currently under VADOC supervision see II.
Finally, will you/ your family possibly be visited by U.S. Marshal’s or the Virginia State Police before, on or after Halloween and what are your obligations? See III.

 

I- In Virginia there are NO State or Local Laws prohibiting RSO’s from participating in Halloween activities (as long as they are NOT on school or daycare property or school-sponsored events).

RSO’s  Can:
  1. Have their front door/porch lights on
  2. Decorate their door/home/yard
  3. Accompany their children, grand-children, step-children, step-grandchildren, siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins or ANY child trick-or-treating (but not at a school-sponsored event or at a daycare facility)
  4. Answer their own door and hand out candy
  5. Wear a costume
  6. Attend Halloween parties / events (but not at a school-sponsored event or at a daycare facility)
 

II- If the RSO is under Virginia’s Department of Correction Probation Supervision then there MAY be restrictions specific to THOSE RSO’s that they MUST follow or face a Probation Violation (a felony). These VADOC Halloween programs are known as Operation Trick-Not-Treat AND Operation Porch-Lights-Out 

  1. Each VADOC Probation District handles Halloween differently and they are obligated to advise the RSO ahead of time of their restrictions or requirements which could include:
·       No decorations outside the RSO’s home or apartment
·       No exterior/door lights on from 5pm to 5am
·       Being “locked-down” inside their home from 5pm to 5am (you can not leave your home or answer your door)
·       A mandate to attend “round-up” a Probation or Counseling meeting where the RSO may be required to submit to alcohol and/or drug testing, to watch a video or discuss their conviction (from 4pm to 9pm, trick or treating hours).
·       A sign posted on the RSO’s front door with an image of a pumpkin and text stating No Candy Here 

All under the threat of being violated if the Probationer does not comply. 

  1. The VADOC Probation Officer could also stop by the RSO’s home to confirm they have followed the rules that District advised them of before October 31st
Of course, not being able to have any exterior lights on your home/property on the biggest days of the year that teenagers are looking for someone to vandalize, the VADOC is setting our RSO’s up to be targets of vigilantes. 

The VADOC claims to implement processes and policies that are data-driven and evidence based, these VADOC Halloween programs for RSO’s are NOT data-driven OR evidence based. 

The VADOC also claims it supports the successful re-entry of former-offenders BACK into our communities and that they want to remove barriers but yet ALL empirical research on this issue over the last 15 years has concluded that Halloween is no more dangerous a day than any other day of the year for our children OR for RSO’s to reoffend. 

These two VADOC Halloween programs are sold by the Administration to the public as a preventive measure, prevention is a noble goal but there is no crystal ball of future crimes or future perpetrators. The VADOC touts these programs every year with media-releases as a success, so in actuality the VADOC is perpetuating the urban myth that everyone on the Virginian State Police SO Registry is a dangerous Predator lying in wait for a child to enter into their trap. Before these VA-DOC programs existed (and since) there has NOT been one case of a Virginia Registered Sex Offender abducting, molesting or killing someone on Halloween. It’s 100% State-sponsored propaganda.
 

III- For those RSO’s who are NOT under VADOC supervision. 

In past years the Virginia State Police has partnered with the U.S. Marshal’s to do one of the two annual residential compliance checks for ANY RSO. They’ve done these on the day before Halloween, the day of and the day after. Your VSP Compliance Officer or Trooper could show up with an entourage in flak-jackets and with guns on their hips………to intentionally make a scene in front of your entire neighborhood, under the guise of “public safety”.  

One small change in 2017 to note here is that as of August 31, 2017 Virginia has supposedly become Federally certified (SMART Office) compliant Adam Walsh Act/SORNA State but that does NOT change any Virginia rules for RSO’s on Halloween.
 

Monday, October 9, 2017

October 16, 2017 Deadline to Register to Vote in Virginia House (and Governor) Election on November 7, 2017



Did you know?
 

Original Post:

On November 7, 2017 all 100 seats in the Virginia House are up for reelection as well as Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General and many local offices.

The deadline to register to vote in the upcoming election is October 16, 2017.

Every Virginian is the constituent of one Virginia Delegate (House member) that represents
your home District.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Professor Catherine Carpenter: The Unconstitutionality of Sex Offense Laws


Published on Oct 6, 2017
Professor Catherine Carpenter (Southwestern Law School), a nationally renowned criminal law scholar in the area of sex crimes and sex offender registration laws, came to St. Francis College on September 26 to talk about The Unconstitutionality of Sex Offense Laws.

Her scholarship has been cited by numerous courts and used as a guide by attorneys; she is also one of the foremost authorities on law school curricula and accreditation. Among her important law review articles is, "Against Juvenile Sex Offender Registration."

The lecture was organized by St. Francis College Professors Emily Horowitz and Athena Devlin as part of the Fall 2017 Senior Citizen Lecture Series: Perspectives on American Politics & Policies.

https://www.sfc.edu/news-feed/~post/the-unconstitutionality-of-sex-offense-laws-20171006
https://www.youtube.com/embed/w-ct5YLdRUk

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Myth and the Propaganda of Halloween and Registered Sex Offenders 10 Years of Articles and Research


Halloween is 3.5 weeks away which means news outlets everywhere will begin to run stories and write articles on Halloween Safety and Registered Sex Offenders. 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Virginia State Police Sex Offender Registry: Arbitrary Due Dates, Limited Hours of Operation, Certified Letter Must be In-Hand, Photographs and Felonies



It’s mid-September and in my house, that means one thing, what’s my husband’s October work schedule look like for him to meet his legal obligation as a Non-Violent RSO who must re-register once a year in Virginia.

Some people might think, what’s the big deal he re-registers on his birthday easy-peasy, not in Virginia.

In Virginia Per § 9.1-904. RSO’s reregister:
  1. Every 30 days
  2. Every 90 days (not 3 months), the majority of VA’s RSO’s fall into this group.
  3. Every 180 days (not 6 months)
  4. Annually

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Virginia Department of Corrections Annual Report: In 2017 Recidivism Rate is 23.4%, Fewer SVP’s are Being Conditionally Released and Sex Offender Treatment / Assessment Funding Hasn’t Changed in 8 Years



Back in 2015 is when I first posted the links to VA-DOC Annual Reports. The 2016 breakdown can be found here http://goo.gl/Kpvsvx.
 
Just a reminder for readers, the VA-DOC stopped tracking the recidivism rate for Registered Sex Offenders back in 2013.
 
The 2017 VA-DOC Report is now online and here are some of the highlights I’ve taken note of:
1. Virginia’s rate of recidivism had a slight increase, 23.4% to be the lowest rate of the 45 States that measure recidivism- page 3
- In 2016 VA’s recidivism rate was 23.0% and in 2015 it was 22.8%.
- In 2016 VA was the 2nd lowest of 47 States that measure recidivism.
2. Too many offenders still enter the community from prison without housing, particularly sex offenders and violent offenders. – page 4
3. Many community service boards do not provide mental health treatment to certain types of offenders, such as those convicted of sex offenses or murders, contributing to a higher public risk and recidivism rate for offenders with mental health needs. page 4
4. Total Number of People under VA-DOC Probation Supervision grew from 61,281 to 64,679 - page 8
- That’s an 5.54% growth rate for 2017
- In 2016 it was 4.64% and in 2015 it was 2.44%.
5. Total VA-DOC amount allocated for Sex Offender Assessment and Treatment is $1,367,00.00 - page 10
- This dollar amount has NOT changed since 2010.
6. Total VA-DOC amount allocated for Sex Offender Polygraphs is $299,900.00 - page 10
- This dollar amount has NOT changed since 2009.
7. Total Number of Sexually Violent Predators (SVP) conditionally released from the Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation (VCBR) grew from 181 to 197 - page 13
- That’s an 8.84% growth rate for 2017
- In 2016 it was 16.77% and in 2015 it was 28.10%.

 
Mary Davye Devoy

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Nextdoor.com Doesn’t Just Block Registered Sex Offenders from Joining Their Website, but ANYONE Who Lives at the Same Address as the RSO



Update:

Received this email at 1:24PM today
 
 
Original Post:
Richmond CBS6 ran a story this morning on stolen vehicles and neighbors who used Nextdoor.com to discuss/locate a vehicle.

One of my neighbors mentioned a similar website months ago to me so this morning I thought why not join to be in the loop?

So I entered my home address, then my name and I selected a password.

Instead of gaining access to the site for my neighborhood I saw this:

 

Monday, September 11, 2017

In Virginia if an Emergency is Declared, Registered Sex Offenders Will NOT be banned from Emergency Shelters




Where Florida counties sheltered sex offenders during Irma, September 13, 2017
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/florida-counties-sheltered-sex-offenders-irma/

Florida sheriff sued after threatening to scour hurricane shelters for criminals, September 11, 2017
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/09/11/florida-sheriff-sued-after-threatening-to-scour-hurricane-shelters-for-criminals/?utm_term=.7cf5795cd7ee


Sex Offenders in Emergency Shelters, September 7, 2017
https://nccriminallaw.sog.unc.edu/sex-offenders-emergency-shelters/

Original Post:

What if parts of Virginia were under a Hurricane Warning or Severe Flooding?

What if a Tornado or an Earthquake hit and people needed to stay in local shelters?

These natural disasters are all possibilities in Virginia.

What if you’re a Registered Sex Offender?

In the last few days we’ve heard and read about how badly Florida has handled sheltering Registered Sex Offenders amid Hurricane Irma.
 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

September 6, 2017: Federal DOJ Announces the State of Virginia is now SMART Office SORNA/AWA Compliant. WHAT?


09/21/17 Update:

Thanks to a longtime reader/supporter we now know HOW and WHY the SMART Office decided to certify Virginia as SORNA/AWA compliant when there is no possible way we are.

Under multiple SORNA requirements it says, "The deviation does not substantially disserve the purposes of SORNA requirements". In other words, good enough Virginia.
SMART is so desperate to certify more than the 17 stagnant States they have lowered the bar of compliance significantly! SORNA used to mandate the State make 4 visits by the authorities each year AND that a new photograph would be taken each of those times. I know because I had to raise the point of VSP costs and manpower for those additional 2 residential visits every year but that SORNA requirements seems to no longer exist.
I actually knew this would happen I’ve said it to Virginia Legislators over the years, SORNA/AWA has to look like it’s an achievable and desirable goal for the states otherwise the public will wonder why only 17 states have made the effort.
As I told VA Legislators 2 weeks ago in an email when the SMART Office made the declaration VA was compliant, they can no longer propose a harsher law and claim to the committee, the chamber floor and the media that it's needed to get VA closer the SORNA compliance because somehow, we are already there. 

Just like if I get a bill sponsored to:
  1. Removed the employer information from the online VSP Registry  goo.gl/g65RVk
  2. Removed the college/university information from the online VSP Registry  goo.gl/hZKu5U
  3. Stopped requiring misdemeanor offenses from registering as “Sex Offenders”
  4. Stopped requiring juveniles from registering as “Sex Offenders”  goo.gl/yDvWUX
  5. Removed misdemeanor offenses from the online VSP Registry and onto a private (authority only) list  goo.gl/DeeWOa
  6. Removed juveniles from the online VSP Registry and onto a private (authority only) list  goo.gl/yDvWUX
  7. Allowed juveniles to petition for removal on their 21st or 25th birthday instead of being “Lifers” on the VSP Registry  goo.gl/yDvWUX
  8. Eliminate Virginia’s myth-base Residency Restriction law  goo.gl/LMWgh7
 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

WVTF’s Sex Offenders and Public Safety: A Four-Part Series


Well a 4 Part Series on Sex Offender Registries and Laws that a Virginia Public Radio station was working on for many months is now available and I’m SO mad! 

Back in March, right after the 2017 Virginia General Assembly ended I was contacted by a Public Radio reporter who wanted to interview me about the VSP SO Registry, VA SO laws and my 9 years of advocacy. 

She traveled to our home and my husband was off from work that day so he joined us. 

The recorded interview went on for 2 hours and it began with her asking my husband to tell her exactly what happened to him back in 2007. Right off the bat he wasn’t ready to talk and was surprised that was the direction the reporter wanted to go in so I told the series of events instead.  

We covered tons of proposed legislation, failed legislation and passed legislation in Virginia. We covered statistics, costs and lots of research in the SO field. 

A few weeks after we gave the interview I learned the reporter was going to branch out to national reform organizations and I voiced my disappointment that the series wasn’t going to stay focused on Virginia, that’s why I participated in the first place. I advised the reporter that if the series was going to be about other advocacy groups in other states I’d prefer not to be included because there are issues in other states that are far worse than in VA and that would over take the story. I also voiced my disappointment in the possibility that the reporter was going to interview an RSO who I had communicated with previously who was doing things that could in fact lead to harsher laws being proposed in Virginia and holding him up as an example wasn’t a good idea. 

Well last night the Public Radio series was posted online and the only part of our interview that was used was what happened back in 2007. We didn't even want to talk about that, I wrote about it in 2010 in a VP editorial. What about bad legislation, good legislation or ANY VA legislation?

THEN on top of that WVTF didn’t use our real names, like we're hiding or something. I didn't ask for pseudonyms and we were not told we'd be given pseudonyms, I’m so mad!
 

WVTF calls us Debby and Don Delaney in Part 1, there is no Debby and Don Delaney! 

If the reporter had planned on using pseudonyms then why did she take photos of me when she visited? There is a disclaimer claiming names have been changed to protect the "victim" if we had been advised our names were going to be changed we would have declined the interview from the very first email request.

I may never do another interview again, about this advocacy because all they ever want to ask/focus on is about the 2007 false accusation, the injustice awe faced nd the plea deal he took as if we regularly complain about it, we do NOT! The last 9 years of public advocacy has been about smart reform for others, not about us.


Sunday, August 20, 2017

No Fancy Assessment Tools Needed the 5 Categories of Registered Sex Offenders


I am the kind of person that may not remember your name when I run into you at the grocery store but I know your face is familiar. 

I probably won’t remember how many kids you have, your spouses name or where you went to college just because we worked together 5 years ago.  

I also probably won’t notice you’re wearing a new piece of jewelry or you’re driving a new car.  

But I am the type of person that is very astute when it comes to the character of a person. When people talk they give you clues about themselves that reveal a lot more then they probably think they’ve revealed.  

Over the last 9 years as an advocate I’ve paid very close attention to what RSO's and their loved ones say and do. 

I’ve met with many RSO’s and family members over the years and I’ve heard from even more via email, postal mail or telephone. 

I’ve learned a lot about the character and integrity from those who have been swept up by the overly broad Sex Offender laws, restrictions and regulations. I have also witnessed a percentage of arrogance, manipulation, repudiation and the willingness to look the other way when a voice or an action of moral obligation is desperately needed. 

Now I don’t like labels, who does? 

And I know many followers don’t like classifications or grouping former-offenders into categories. 

But I do believe the small percentage of those who re-offend share similar traits, things they say, things they do and things they don’t do. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Virginia RSO is Being Ejected from VA-DOC Housing in 30 Days, But He Can’t Secure Steady Employment Because VSP Registry Posts Employer Information Where Will He Go?


This morning I found this article. 

Ex-con feels he's being forced to re-offend, asks state to step in, August 15, 2017
http://www.nbc12.com/story/36144480/ex-con-feels-hes-being-forced-to-re-offend-asks-state-to-step-in
 

So I am posting Legislative Goal#1 in response, Virginia should remove at a minimum the Employer/Company Name of RSO's from the online Virginia State Police (VSP) Registry. The street address of the employer should also be removed from the online VSP Registry. 

I’ve attempted three times to achieve this goal with legislation and every time the Virginia State Police opposes it and the Virginia House Court of Justice Criminal Sub-Committee kill my Bill, see below for details. 

The VA-DOC could save thousands of dollars EVERY year, IF the VSP Registry removed employer information from public view. 

Please contact your one Virginia Delegate AND your one Senator THIS week, ask them to sponsor legislation (a Bill) for the below at the upcoming 2018 Virginia General Assembly session.

Thank you. 

Mary Davye Devoy 
 

Goal #1: 

Today Virginia Businesses are being punished/ shamed by customers, clients, vendors and neighboring businesses for hiring an RSO when they are participating in the successful re-entry of ex-offenders in Virginia. Most employers will not hire otherwise qualified individuals knowing that their company name will be posted on the VSP Registry. They do NOT want to be bothered with the criticism, shame, intimidation, harassment and occasional threats that follow. 

If the Employer/Company name and the street address were removed for the Internet nothing would change when it comes to the registration requirements, restrictions and VSP checks on the Offenders.
·         The RSO’s would continue to register ALL their employer information with the Virginia State Police (and their VA-DOC Probation Officer).
·         The Virginia State Police (and their VA-DOC Probation Officer) would still confirm that their place of employment does not violate any State Law AND they would still confirm that the RSO does actually work there.  

Virginia is one of only 6 States that publicly posts an RSO’s employer AND full address. 

29 states do not publicly post ANY employer information, 5 of those States are certified Federal Adam Walsh Act/SORNA compliant.  
 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Cruel and Unusual: The Case Against Registering Kids as Sex Offenders By Nicole Pittman and Riya Saha Shah


A great piece by Nicole Pittman and Riya Shah of Impact Justice!
Mary 

Cruel and Unusual: The Case Against Registering Kids as Sex Offenders, Summer 2017 Issue American Bar Magazine
By Nicole Pittman and Riya Saha Shah
https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/publications/criminal_justice_magazine/v32/SHAH.authcheckdam.pdf

Sunday, August 6, 2017

50 States: Which States Publicly Post an RSO’s Enrollment in College/University and Which Ones Don’t?


Two days ago I found this paper, Variations in State Sex Offender Statutes: Implications for U.S. Higher Education
By Bradley Cluster

Now many of you may remember back in 2016 VA Delegate Rob Bell proposed HB628 which would add Employer information to what is posted on the Virginia State Police (VSP) Sex Offender Registry, something the VSP had been doing without Legislature permission for 8 or 9 years AND it would add the enrollment at Higher Institutions of Education to be posted on the VSP Registry. At that time it seemed that the VSP had already been posting some RSO’s college information online but maybe not every RSO’s including online (not campus) enrollment. With the passage of the 2016 Bill the VSP would have the VA Legislatures permission/instruction to do so. 

As many of you may remember I had numerous Action Items against the 2016 Bill
But in the end it passed. 

Since then I have heard from a handful of RSO's across the State and the denial rate for admission sounds as though it’s increased even for online enrollment. But there is no way to know for sure even though the VSP has the numbers of enrolled RSO’s from the prior years to today when asked for this data (plus homelessness, self employment, unemployment, juveniles, senior citizens and race) via FOIA they deny the request. 

The above paper is interesting but what I found most interesting is the list of States that DO NOT publicly lists an RSO’s enrollment in an Institute of Higher Education.  As with the list of States that DO NOT publicly lists an RSO’s Employer information OR Juveniles and Misdemeanor Offenses it has no bearing in being Federal certified as Adam Walsh Act compliant. 

No Internet Listing of Institute of Higher Education:
  1. Arizona          
  2. Arkansas
  3. Colorado*      
  4. California
  5. Florida*
  6. Georgia
  7. Idaho 
  8. Illinois
  9. Iowa
  10. Kentucky
  11. Minnesota
  12. Montana 
  13. New Jersey
  14. New Mexico
  15. New York
  16. North Carolina
  17. North Dakota
  18. Oklahoma*
  19. Oregon           
  20. Rhode Island
  21. South Dakota*
  22. Vermont
  23. Washington
  24. Wisconsin
* The State is Certified Federal Adam Walsh Act AWA/SORNA compliant by the SMART Office, as of February 2017
 

Now that I know this I have decided to add Remove Institute of Higher Education from the VSP Registry to my list of Legislative Goals. I just have to decide if I add it after Goal #1 (to remove the Employer info) or at the bottom as Goal #14. 

Without a college degree all former-offenders are more like to re-offend, why has the Virginia Legislature chosen to single-out those listed on the VSP Registry ?