Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Are States Harassing Sex Offender Registrants?

2-6-2010 Virginia:
Something is going on in Virginia which warrants our attention. Apparently state law requires the State Police to produce -annually- the following report: "MONITORING OF OFFENDERS REQUIRED TO COMPLY WITH THE SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY REQUIREMENTS: A Report to the Governor, House Appropriations Committee, And Senate Finance Committee. "

Most folks may consider such reading mundane, but we are more critical of reports produced by any state, that affect registrants. In this report, two interesting paragraphs:
As of December 1, 2009, there were 16,238 sex offenders listed on the Virginia State Police Sex Offender Registry. They are divided into three groups which consist of the following: (1) 3,171 registrants under Department of Corrections Probation and Parole Services, (2) 6,053 sex offenders whose verification will be conducted by the Department of State Police, and (3) the remaining 7,014 registrants who are incarcerated in jails or prisons across the state.

Registry Violations
In the past twelve months, from December 1, 2008, through November 30, 2009, the Virginia State Police conducted 2,651 criminal investigations for “Failure to Register” and “Providing False Information.” During this same period, there were 972 arrests made across the state by the Virginia State Police for violations of the aforementioned offenses, with 379 convictions to date. Many cases are still pending trial.

Its nice to know that 7,014 (43%) of those shown on the registry do not even live in any community, but they are in jails or prisons. Guess it is easy to verify their addresses. Hey, proof that the numbers touted to the public -as being in various communities- are not true, verified by the police. Hysteria is a wonderful thing, when the state is causing it, now isn't it!

On to other things, 3,171 (19.5%) of those on the registry are on parole or probation. Well, that means they are being monitored by parole or probation officers, right? Allegedly these folks check in with whoever supervises them, at least monthly, but now catch this, the police are verifying their addresses. Am I wrong or is this doing the job TWICE? Why are the police doing -the same thing- that parole and probation officers are doing? Does this waste any taxpayer money?

Now, to the meat of my commentary: Failure to Register folks, these are the folks touted to be the bad guys for failing to follow the law. Are they, lets see?

Remember, the report covers a ONE YEAR period (12-1-08 through 11-30-09). During that time there were 2,651 investigations for "FTR" or "Providing False Information." So, approximately 29% of those registrants in the community (16,238 - 7,014) were investigated. Yes, I recognize some may have been investigated more than once, hence my approximately. The state claims 94% of the registry is in compliance, is something missing here?

Next, out of 2,651 investigations there were 972 arrests made, in other words, approximately 63% of the investigations were UNNECESSARY? Should we ask WHY? Maybe get a list of WHYS? Is there something wrong with the way the VA registry is programmed or operational problems? Or what else, no matter what 63% of the investigations must have wasted taxpayer money, someone should find out why the waste, and fix it?

Things are about to get worse, heads up: Of the 972 arrests 379 were convicted. So we have approximately 61% of those arrested were NOT GUILTY of what they were charged with. Or, we could also say, approximately 85% of the 2,651 investigations were false. Who is alerting the police to start an investigation, is it the general public harassing registrants, or police?

I think most folks know I spend oodles of time trying to document the "Harms that befall registrants and their families." Why do I smell a rat here? Are registrants being harassed, with some being forced to go through the judicial system and costing them money that their families -so dearly need-, is this further punishment? What needs to be done?

Finally, we are thankful Virginia requires this report. Now should all states be required to produce such a report? These are a sampling of the figures we need to bring to the lawmakers to show the SUBTLE HARASSMENTS that registrants are suffering. And, if this is happening in Virginia where they claim 94% compliance, what kind of disasters are there in other states whose lawmakers claim less compliance?

Advocates, there is work to be done!

Have a great day and a better tomorrow.