RD426 - Program and Community Options to Reduce Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) Civil Commitment – October 28, 2020

Executive Summary:

*This report was replaced in its entirety by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services on October 29, 2020.

Virginia is one of 20 states along with the Federal Bureau of Prisons that have created a system of post-sentence civil commitment for persons who are found to meet Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) criteria and who present too great a risk for recidivism to be released into the community. In Virginia, some individuals who the court finds to be a SVP are conditionally released to community supervision from the Department of Corrections (DOC) after they complete their sentence. Those who the court believes are not suitable for conditional release require secure confinement and are civilly committed to the Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation (VCBR) for treatment.

Since the onset of civil commitment in FY 2003, the census of VCBR has steadily increased until the past three years where it has leveled. The vast majority of the residents at VCBR are there because they require treatment in a secure facility to address their risk for reoffending. However, there are a number of residents who, despite being a candidate for conditional release, are residing at VCBR because there was no suitable home plan or community resources available to address their needs even though these needs may not be related to any increased risk for sexual reoffending. The census of VCBR has also been affected by the return of individuals who have been conditionally released to the community but have been found in violation of their conditional release plans. The majority of these individuals are returned to VCBR for engaging in behaviors that, if left unaddressed, could lead to an increased risk of sexual reoffending. However for some of these individuals, the reasons that they could not return to the community were not related to sexual reoffending behaviors and could have been addressed in the community if resources were available to them.

To conduct this study, a multi-disciplinary workgroup comprised of experts from the DBHDS, the DOC and community treatment programs (Appendix A) was assembled. The team conducted a review of the existing SVP program, the variables that contribute to the VCBR census, the community resources available to sex offenders and barriers to conditional release. Based on this information, the workgroup proposed the development of a more cost-effective continuum of care that offers alternatives to secure confinement for individuals who are housed at VCBR but do not require intensive inpatient sex offender treatment in a secure facility and are otherwise suitable for conditional release. Seven recommendations are included in this report along with the estimated costs for implementation and anticipated savings when compared to housing the same individuals at VCBR. As of July 1, 2020, the cost of housing an individual at VCBR had grown to $109,000 per person per year. This amount is less than reported in previous years due to the reduced census and reduction in appropriations. Any recommendations for community based resources may face challenges from the community due to negative perceptions and public safety concerns.