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Friday, April 21, 2017

Legislative Goal #9 for a Smarter Sex Offender Registry in Virginia – Modernize the Virginia State Police Registration Process. Plus better communications with RSO’s and for the VSP to Track/Share the data that THEY gather every year.


Today’s Goal is #9, and it has 3 parts.
  1. It’s time to modernize the VSP Registry, re-registration system and data entry.
  2. Better and more accurate communication from the VSP to our RSO’s
  3. Additional data that is already gathered by the VSP should be available either through FOIA OR included in the annual VSP Sex Offender Monitoring Report.
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 #9:

It’s time for the Virginia State Police to modernize the registration process plus better communications with RSO’s and for the VSP to track/share the data that THEY gather every year.  

The RSO Population in Virginia grows by an average of 900 new people every year. As of November 2016 the RSO count for Virginia count was 22,588. But as of 2017 the Virginia State Police is stilling using the same methods and system (carbon-paper, inter-office mail for delayed data-entry and no electronic means of re-registration) for our RSO’s since the VSP Registry was established 22 years ago. 

Problems:
1.    RSO’s to who are looking for answers to questions that could result in a felony if they don’t act in a timely fashion can’t call the VSP SO Hotline (804) 674-2825 before 8:15AM or after 4:45PM on weekdays and they can NOT call at anytime on the weekend or holidays*.
2.   RSO’s who need to re-register (every 30, 90, 120 or 365 days - per law) or update data changes (new married name, residence, mailing address/PO Box, employment info, school enrollment, phone numbers, vehicle registrations and email/IM addresses –per law) are limited to the VSP location hours of 8:30AM to 4:00PM weekdays ONLY. Plus VSP location hours vary across the State; some are even more limited than the standard 8:30AM to 4:00PM.  

That totals 248 days out of 365 per year and 1,860 hours that the VSP is open for Registered Sex Offender to comply with Virginia Law.  

A VSP Trooper or VSP employee spends an average of 20 minutes with each RSO.  

Let’s go with a very conservative average of 2 visits to a VSP location per year for the RSO’s under VSP supervision and Probation to re-register and update changes in data.  

In 2016 that was 13,177 RSO’s and w/ 2 visits in a year that would be 26,354 visits at 20 minutes each 8,784 hours was needed to manage all the RSO’s but the VSP only allotted 1,860.  

3.   Registrations and all data changes are given by the RSO in-person to a VSP employee. The employee hand-writes all the information onto paper forms with carbon copies. If the VSP employee hears something incorrectly, has bad penmanship or doesn’t press hard enough errors/ typos will be entered into the VSP database by the third party who receives the paperwork at VSP headquarters days later.
4.   A copy of all re-registrations is no longer given to RSO as proof they met their legal obligation, this stopped in 2015. And that copy is extremely important because the burden of proof falls on the RSO. 

* To compare how accessible the Virginia State Police is for the VCheck Firearm Seller Background checks versus hours of accessibility for our 22,000+ Registered Sex Offenders to re-register and update changes in data go here http://goo.gl/8cQAgK . 

I- Proposed Solutions:
1.    Expand the VSP SO Hotline (804) 674-2825 hours of operation. The VSP Headquarters on Midlothian Turnpike in Chesterfield, VA never closes, there are always employees inside.
·         8AM to 8PM Monday through Friday     (minus observed VSP holidays*)
·         10AM to 4PM on Saturdays                       (minus observed VSP holidays*)
·         12AM to 4PM on Sundays                          (minus observed VSP holidays*)
2.   Expand re-registrations hours at VSP locations for Registered Sex Offenders. These locations do not empty out of people after 4PM on weekdays or on weekends, there are employees inside. Staff a SO VSP employee at every VSP Location from:
·         8AM to 8PM Monday through Friday     (minus observed VSP holidays*)
·         8AM to 4PM on Saturdays                         (minus observed VSP holidays*)
·         11AM to 4PM on Sundays                          (minus observed VSP holidays*)
This would add 17.5 more hours of access every week for RSO’s to register, re-register and update changes in data. That works out to 910 more hours every year for a new total of 2,770 hours per year to access the VSP and comply with Virginia law.
3.   Eliminate all the carbon paperwork and mailing all updates to VSP Headquarters for data-entry days later, unless sent from a local police or sheriff’s office.
·         At every VSP location enter all data changes, new photographs and scan all thumbprints directly into the VSP database while the RSO confirm the changes are correct.
·         Then it updates then it updates on the Internet within an hour or at least the next 24 hours.
·         Give a copy of the new listing to every RSO as proof they complied with VA law in case there is a computer issue.
4.   Allow RSO’s to notify the VSP of email or Instant Message account changes through one of the following methods.
(i)   Via email to a dedicated VSP address that sends the RSO an automatic confirmation that the update has been received.
(ii) Create an online /electronic system (like VA Code says) that sends the RSO an automatic confirmation that the update has been received.
5.   Allow RSO’s to re-register or update any data changes through one of the following methods.
(i)   Through the VSP website with a secure password or their SSN.
·               They’d have blank VSP SP236 and SP236-A forms to download on the VSP website for the RSO’s to fill out and submit on/through the site.
·               That either gives the RSO a confirmation # (that would include the date and time) or sends an email confirmation with a copy of the submitted form.
(ii) Install SO Registry Data Kiosks (like an ATM) that could be installed outside VSP Locations and Local Police and Sheriffs locations under security lighting and cameras.
·               An iris scan or thumbprint scan (which is already in VSP database) could be used to authenticate identities.
·               A print-out of all changes made by the RSO would include a date time and stamp as proof they complied with Virginia law.
·               Once the new data is proofed by a VSP employee that new data would automatically updates online, no paperwork, no typos no interoffice mail.
·               If the machine is out-of-service there would need to be a back-up paper system for VSP employees inside the location to manage until the machine was fixed. RSO’s could NOT be turned away because VA Code specifies specific timeframes for re-registrations and data changes.
II- Additional Proposals:
6.    The VSP needs to post their hours of operation on all their locations doors.
7.     The VSP needs to post their observed holidays on any of their locations doors.
8.    The VSP needs to post the hours of operation for each location on their website.
9.     The VSP needs to post the SO Hotline number and hours of operation on their website.
10.The VSP needs to post their observed holidays on their website.
11.  The VSP needs to have printed copies of the VSP SO Brochure on the counters for RSO’s to see and take or to ask questions about. 

III- Data that the VSP gathers but can’t (or won’t) pull for FOIA’s OR include in their annual VSP Report:
i)     The number of  RSO’s categorized by race, sex and age, each year
ii)   The number of “Non-Violent”  and “Violent” VSP RSO’s, each year
iii)   The number of juveniles on the VSP Registry, each year
iv) The number of unemployed and self-employed (the residence and employment address are the same) RSO’s, each year
v)    The number of homeless RSO’s, each year
vi) The number of RSO’s categorized by conviction (statute) by State, Military, Federal, Native American Tribal and Foreign Country, each year
vii)    The number of RSO’s (not incarcerated) categorized by their re-registration timeframes. Every 30 days, every 90 days, every 120 days or annually, each year.
viii) The number of RSO’s are required to abide by § 18.2-370.3. Residency Restrictions, each year
ix)   The number of civilly committed SVP’s at the VCBR
x)    The number of previously civilly committed now living in communities
xi) The number of court petitions for “removal” from the VSP Registry AND the success OR failure rate, each year
xii)    The number of court petitions for “relief” of multiple re-registrations per year AND the success OR failure rate, each year
xiii) The number of failure-to-register convictions, each year 

IV- Data that the VSP currently does NOT gather but that they should via their twice a year residential visits or from the RSO in-person re-registrations
i)      The number of RSO’s diagnosed with Autism, each year
ii)   The number of RSO’s with physical disabilities (missing a limb, in a wheelchair, bed-bound, under 24-hour care, etc), each year
iii)   The number of RSO’s (not incarcerated) who are unable to drive OR are without a drivers license, each year
iv) The number of RSO’s who are US Veterans, each year 

* VSP holidays include:
·         The 4, 3-day holidays (Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day and Columbus Day) per year.
·         The 2, 4-day holidays (Lee-Jackson/MLK weekend and Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend) per year
·         Plus the possibility that Christmas, New Years Day, Independence Day or Veterans Day could land on a Friday or Monday OR if they land on a Saturday or a Sunday then either that Friday or Monday will be taken as a holiday. That’s 4 more possible 3-day weekends, per year.