Geriatric prisoners; conditional release, exceptions. (HB2172)

Introduced By

Del. Jason Miyares (R-Virginia Beach)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

Conditional release of geriatric prisoners; exceptions. Prohibits persons serving a sentence imposed upon a conviction of murder in the first degree, abduction with the intent to defile, abduction of any child under 16 for the purpose of concubinage or prostitution, abduction of any minor for the purpose of manufacturing child pornography, rape, forcible sodomy, object sexual penetration, aggravated sexual battery, crimes against nature involving family members, adultery or fornication involving family members, or taking indecent liberties with a child or a conviction of the production, publication, sale, or financing of child pornography from petitioning the Parole Board for conditional release, under current law, when such persons reach age 65 and have served at least five years of their sentence or reach age 60 and have served at least 10 years of their sentence. Amends § 53.1-40.01, of the Code of Virginia. Read the Bill »

Outcome

Bill Has Failed

History

DateAction
01/08/2019Committee
01/08/2019Impact statement from VCSC (HB2172)
01/08/2019Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/09/19 19100876D
01/08/2019Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/15/2019Assigned Courts sub: Subcommittee #1
01/23/2019Impact statement from DPB (HB2172)
01/24/2019Assigned Courts sub: Subcommittee #4
01/28/2019Impact statement from VCSC (HB2172)
01/29/2019Assigned Courts sub: Subcommittee #1
01/30/2019House subcommittee amendments and substitutes offered
01/30/2019Subcommittee recommends reporting (7-Y 0-N)
01/30/2019Subcommittee recommends referring to Committee on Appropriations
01/30/2019Reported from Courts of Justice with substitute (18-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/30/2019Committee substitute printed 19105421D-H1
01/30/2019Referred to Committee on Appropriations
01/31/2019Assigned App. sub: Public Safety
01/31/2019Impact statement from VCSC (HB2172H1)
02/01/2019Impact statement from DPB (HB2172H1)
02/01/2019Subcommittee recommends laying on the table (7-Y 0-N)
02/05/2019Left in Appropriations

Comments

Mary D. Devoy writes:

Just a reminder for everyone, Virginia abolished Parole back in 1995 (AKA Truth in Sentencing) which actually means there’s a mandatory minimum of 85% of the sentence for every conviction.

VERY few (https://www.wvtf.org/post/elderly-prisoners-passed-over-parole, https://pilotonline.com/news/government/virginia/article_25055972-ecce-11e8-bedc-33e616e5458b.html, https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/news/2017/oct/9/parole-remains-elusive-virginia-prisoners/,
http://www.dailypress.com/news/crime/dp-nws-parole-geriatric-inmates-20170423-story.html,
https://www.richmond.com/news/va-rarely-grants-geriatric-parole/article_4969b0fe-bdca-5361-984a-7aeb0da2f87e.html) Virginia Prisoners are released each year by the Virginia Parole Board.

There is a Conditional Release of Geriatric Prisoners option per § 53.1-40.01. and today EVERY Virginia Geriatric Prisoner (65+ years old) can be considered, except for those serving a sentence for a Class 1 Felony.

Delegate Miyares is adding to the list of exceptions:
1.Murder in the 1st and 2nd degree
2.Abduction with intent to extort money or for immoral purpose
3.Rape
4.Forcible sodomy
5.Object sexual penetration
6.Aggravated sexual battery
7.Crimes against nature
8.Adultery and fornication by persons forbidden to marry; incest
9.Taking indecent liberties with children
10.Taking indecent liberties with child by person in custodial or supervisory relationship
11.Production, publication, sale, financing, etc., of child pornography; presumption as to age

Out of the Delegate's 11 additional exceptions, 10 of them are sex crimes.

I think something Delegate Miyares said/did back in 2017 in a public Committee hearing is relevant to how he intentional uses fear-mongering to get Virginia bills stopped and passed. During a Restoration-of-Rights bill (voting rights for former-felons) Delegate Miyares called it a Pro-Child Molester bill. I don’t know if he planned on calling it that or out of desperation to kill it, he grasped at the easiest straw but either way it tells me a lot about his character.

As the last 8 years of articles above (links) state the Virginia Parole Board rarely grants conditional release to geriatric prisoners which wastes millions of dollars because the state has to provide medical care.

So WHY would Delegate Miyares add on 11 more convictions that can never even be considered?
Every case, every offender who qualifies should be considered.

Both on the merits of their old case and on the prisoner’s current health.

There should NOT be a blanket ban just because of their conviction.

Either the Virginia Legislature trusts the Virginia Parole Board or they don’t, but don’t start adding to the list of exceptions tying their hands.

Ut Prosim writes:

This bill flies in the face of research confirming that 1) recidivism for sex offenders is lower than the general criminal population and 2) older offenders are unlikely to recidivate.

The General Assembly has continued to perpetrate the myth that those who have been convicted of sexual offending pose a significant public safety risk, emblazoning thousands with a lifetime scarlet letter as “violent” without any risk assessment. This bill is yet another fear-based approach, this time attempting to punish even senior citizens who have criminal records.

It is noteworthy that recidivism rates for sex offenders are lower than for the general criminal population.
https://www.csom.org/pubs/mythsfacts.pdf

Older offenders were substantially less likely than younger offenders to recidivate following release.
https://www.ussc.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/research-and-publications/research-publications/2017/20171207_Recidivism-Age.pdf

Finally, legislators and other policymakers should adopt evidence-based policies to create offender-specific control or treatment methods that are not over-inclusive. Doing so, however, would require them to recognize that many of the widely-held beliefs regarding sex offenders are not based on empirical proof, but rather are myths. Only when policymakers reject commonly-held myths about sex offenders will effective control policies be designed and implemented.
Galeste, Marcus A., Henry F. Fradella, and Brenda Vogel. "Sex Offender Myths in Print Media: Separating Fact from Fiction in U.S. Newspapers." Western Criminology Review 13.2 (2012): 4-24. Sex Offender Myths In Print Media. Sonoma State University. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.

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