Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Legislative Goal #3 for a Smarter Sex Offender Registry in Virginia – Implement a 4 Tier/Level Risk-Based Classification System for the VSP Sex Offender Registry, Instead of the Current 2-Level Conviction Based System

Today’s Goal is #3; implement a 4 Tier/Level Risk-Based Classification System for the VSP Sex Offender Registry.  

It’s probably the most extensive Goal, the most expensive goal and I believe it’s the most important goal even though I don’ t have it listed as #1. 

If you agree with this goal please ask your one Virginia Delegate and one Senator to Patron/Sponsor a Bill at the next Virginia General Assembly session in January 2018.  Our VA GA. sessions begin the second Wednesday of every January so you should make your request somewhere between May and early-November.  

You could make your request via email, via phone or even schedule a meeting with your Delegate and Senator to discuss the issues that concern you as their constituent and then propose a Bill or two at that meeting.  

If they decline to Patron/Sponsor the Bill, ask them why 

If their concerns can be addressed, address them. If not let them know you’ll be in a touch again in a month or 2, then pick a different goal and ask them to sponsor that new proposal and if they decline, again ask them why. If their new concerns for the second request can be addressed, address them.

If not (they may say I just don’t want to patron that), then select another goal and ask them again in 2+ months to sponsor that Bill, persistence pays off 

Even if they don’t agree to be a Sponsor they will know:
  1. If they give you a legitimate reason not to Sponsor you will return with facts and data to alleviate those concerns.
  2. If they don’t give a legitimate reason not to Sponsor a Bill you are willing to point out empirical evidence should be the reason laws are proposed not emotion, myth and hate.
  3. That you will continue to return to them asking for Sponsorship as a constituent in their District.
  4. That you are a registered voter (hopefully) and these issues are very important to you and your family members (also voters, hopefully) and so every November they are up for reelection you and your family will be making your selection based on a candidates willingness to listen to reason and data.
You are their constituent, you are a tax-payer and hopefully a voter, they must listen to your concerns and proposals. If you aren’t sure how to address their reason/denial to sponsor a particular Bill that came from my Legislative Goals list, email me at marydavyedevoy@comcast.net with:
  1. The # of Goal you requested
  2. Which VA Legislator you asked
  3. The reason they gave you not to sponsor the Bill
If I can help you find a solution to deliver to your Delegate or Senator, I will. 

Mary Devoy

Goal #3: 

Virginia needs to implement a 4-Tier/Level Risk-Based Classification System. 

Virginia currently has a meaningless 2-Group Conviction-Based Classification System, Non-Violent or Violent and approximately 83% of the VSP Registry falls into the Violent category. 

A Risk-Based classification system would identify those who pose a real threat to society instead of classifying them on a conviction which was mostly likely downgraded with a plea agreement (more than 94% of criminal convictions in Virginia are settled with a plea deal). So today a real-threat could be currently classified as Non-Violent because they pled to a misdemeanor instead of the original felony they were facing but a mental review of the same offender could conclude they are in fact a high-risk to reoffend. 

A Risk-Based classification system would take some time and money initially but in the long run it would save the Commonwealth millions of dollars because everyone would not be treated the same, more resources would be directed toward the higher risks whereas today they do not receive heightened monitoring, everyone is managed and monitored the same. Other States have made the switch from conviction to risk, so it can be done. 

Only 4 States mandate lifetime registration for juveniles as a Sex Offender with no opportunity to ever be removed and sadly Virginia is one of them. 

7 States allow their juveniles to automatically be removed from their registries at age 17, age 21, age 25 or on their 10th year/end of jurisdiction which ever comes first and 4 of those States are Federal AWA/SORNA compliant. 

4 Tiers/Levels would assist the public in deciphering who is a threat and who really isn’t; today approximately 83% of the Registry are lumped together when they actually vary greatly. 

Proposed System:
1.      Tier/Level 1 would be the lowest-risk to reoffend
-       This group would  automatically include the misdemeanor offenses
-       This group would  automatically include all the juveniles
-       This group could be on a private, authority only Registry, NOT on the Internet.
-         This group would automatically be removed after 10 years of perfect compliance, instead of petitioning the court.
-       For the juveniles they could be automatically removed on their 21st or 25th birthday.
2.     Tier/Level 2 would be a moderate-risk to reoffend
-       This group would be on the Internet Registry
-       This group would be allowed to petition the court for removal after 15 or 20 years of perfect compliance.
3.     Tier/Level 3 would be the highest-risk to reoffend, but were never civilly committed as an SVP
-       This group would be on the Internet Registry
-       This group would be registered for Life
4.     Tier/Level 4 would be those who were civilly committed as Sexually Violent Predators (SVP) at the Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation (VCBR), either previously or currently.
-       This group would be on the Internet Registry
-       This group would be registered for Life 

Currently Virginia does not decipher who was previously civilly committed as an SVP, this system would do that. 

Virginia civilly commits our SVP’s based on risk, but yet we currently classify/categorize our RSO’s based on their conviction; Virginia should be consistent and base everything on RISK!