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

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!

Cruel and Unusual: The Case Against Registering Kids as Sex Offenders, Summer 2017 Issue American Bar Magazine
By Nicole Pittman and Riya Saha Shah

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 ?