RD128 - Sexually Violent Predator Screening Protocol Report 2019 – December 1, 2019

Executive Summary:

Pursuant to the Code of Virginia § 37.2-903, staff from the Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Services (DBHDS) and the Virginia Department of Corrections (DOC) have collaborated to develop a report that reviews data related to the screening of Sexually Violent Predators (SVPs) in Virginia. This report includes data for calendar year 2019 and the six calendar years prior. The information included in this report is based on historical data collected by the Department of Corrections (DOC) Sex Offender Screening and Assessment (SOSA) Unit and reflects the number of offenders screened by the SOSA Unit, determined by the DOC to be SVP eligible, forwarded to the Commitment Review Committee (CRC) for further review and adjudicated as SVPs.

On July 1, 2018, an updated screening protocol went into effect to identify DOC offenders who may be found by the court to meet SVP criteria. This protocol, approved by both the Director and the Commissioner, uses the Static 99R actuarial assessment tool and individualized mitigating or aggravating characteristics identified in current research as relative to the risk of sexually violent re-offending.

Overall, the data suggests that the updated SVP screening protocol is more accurately identifying the high-risk sex offenders who are found by the court to meet SVP criteria than the previous screening protocol. This conclusion is supported by both a decrease in the percentage of DOC eligible offenders being referred for CRC evaluations and an increase in the percentage of evaluated offenders who are eventually found by the court to meet SVP criteria. It is important to note that the protocol is still a relatively new process and has been applied to screenings in the last year. It should also be noted that in 2019, there was a 9 percent smaller than average number of eligible offenders to be screened as compared to the previous six calendar years, which impacted the overall number of offenders ultimately adjudicated as SVP. This appears to be secondary to normal variations in offender populations rather than indicative of a longer standing trend and is not a result of the updated protocol. In addition, the majority of cases screened under the protocol have yet to reach their final court disposition at the time of this report.