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Monday, April 17, 2017

Legislative Goal #7 for a Smarter Sex Offender Registry in Virginia – Virginia Should Establish a Sex Offender Management Board (SOMB)


Today’s Goal is #7; Virginia should establish a Sex Offender Management Board (SOMB). 

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 it. 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 concerns can be addressed, address it. 

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 #7: 

Virginia should establish a Sex Offender Management Board (SOMB). 

Many States have SOMB’s, they draft and propose Sex Offender Legislation, they study what does and does not work when it comes to Registered Sex Offender (RSO) regulations, restrictions and mandates.  

The SOMB could have monthly or quarterly public meetings where citizens, offenders, experts and victims are heard on issues of employment, housing, resources, registration, civil commitment, etc. They would also know about all recent State and Federal court rulings and pending cases. 

An SOMB would know what is required by the Federal Adam Walsh Act/SORNA instead of guessing as we’ve seen happen during almost every Virginia General Assembly in the last 10+ years. The SOMB would know what reports, studies and experts in the field across the country are finding and recommending. These recommendations would need to be adhered to by the lawmakers, eliminating the current and future feel-good laws that serve no purpose. 

As of October 2016 there were 22,588 RSO’s in Virginia, this population increases approximately by 79 people every month 

In 2008 1 out of every 207 adult male in VA was an RSO and in 2016 it had grown to 1 out of every 140. This is a population of that will continue to grow and needs to have a dedicated group that is knowledgeable of evidence-based practices in the RSO field. 

The SOMB could also make recommendation to the Virginia State Police who owns the VSP Registry and it’s data and monitors those RSO’s who are no longer under VA-DOC Probation. 

The SOMB would know all the costs of the VSP Sex Offender Registry, the breakdown of RSO’s by sex, race, age (including juveniles) and convictions. 

Plus they'd know the total recidivism rate of Virginia’s RSO’s categorized by:
·            Probation violations and what they were
·            Failures to register and what they were
·            A new legal RSO restriction that State applied retroactively but the RSO was never advised of and what they were
·            A new crime, not sexual and what they were
·            A new sex crime and what they were 

Anytime a State Commission, like the Virginia State Crime Commission, Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission or JLARC or a Governor’s Taskforce were to study anything to do with Sex Offender, the VSP Registry, civil commitment or sex crime related they could utilize the SOMB’s archives and experience. 

The SOMB web-site would also become a great resource for citizens and the minutes from their meetings would be posted so those who could not travel to attend could still be apprised of the discussions and decisions. 

SOMB’s usually consist of:
·               A Commonwealth’s Attorney
·               A Public Defender
·               A District Judge
·               A Juvenile Judge
·               A member of the Department of Corrections
·               A member of the Department of Probation
·               A member of the Department of Juvenile Justice
·               A member of the State Police
·               A State Delegate
·               A State Senator
·               A Criminal Justice Professor
·               2 licensed Mental Health Specialists in Sexual Abuse and Sex Offender Treatment
·               A member of a Re-entry Group
·               A minster of a Faith Based Group
·               A member of a Civil Liberties Organization
·               A member of a Restorative Justice Organization
·               A member of a Victims Advocacy Group
·               A Registered Sex Offender or a family member of an RSO 

If a Virginia Legislator drafted a Bill directed towards “Sex Offenders” or "SVP's" (who are Civilly Committed at the VCBR) they'd submit the proposal to the SOMB to be vetted prior to a Legislative session. 

Having a SOMB in place would most likely reduce the excessive number of Bills that are regularly submitted at the annual VA G.A. sessions that have been based on fear instead of on facts. 

A SOMB would reign in those Virginia Legislators who willfully ignore the empirical evidence but routinely target RSO’s to look tough on “Sexual Predators”, using them as both a stepping-stone and a punching-bag for their own personal gain. 

SOMB's take the Politics Out of Policy!