RD606 - Sexually Violent Predator Referrals, Commitments and Bed Utilization Forecast Report for FY 2023 to FY 2028 – December 1, 2022

Executive Summary:

Pursuant to budget language, staff from the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) collaborate with staff from the Virginia Department of Corrections (DOC) and the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) to develop a forecast of the number of individuals who will be involved in Virginia’s sexually violent predator (SVP) civil commitment and conditional release programs. This forecast is revised and adjusted each year based on changes in historical trends, new developments related to the SVP process and system changes that may affect the census of the Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation (VCBR). Reviewing this data annually provides an opportunity to learn from the comparison of prior forecasts with actual outcomes, anticipate potential changes in the system and prepare or respond to changes by allocating resources accordingly.

Several variables influence the projected VCBR census and are regularly reviewed for the purpose of this forecast. However, it is not possible to predict every variable that may either positively or negatively impact the SVP system and VCBR census outcomes with complete accuracy. An example of this is the COVID-19 pandemic which had a significant impact on the SVP system. This system includes the DOC, OAG and DBHDS. While all these agencies have seen improvement in the impact of COVID-19 on daily operations, the current impact on these agencies remains varied with some operating at closer to a pre-pandemic level than others. At this time, there is no way to know how long these issues will continue and what permanent effect, if any, there may be on future operations. This has led to concern regarding the data for fiscal years 2020 through 2021 and its use in attempting to interpret recent trends. As such, the DOC, DBHDS and the OAG are in agreement that the data provided in this report should still be interpreted with caution.

Based on this determination, this forecast suggests that the VCBR census may continue to grow over the upcoming six years but at a slower rate than anticipated in previous years. Changes in the state responsible (SR) population of DOC inmates and a sustained relatively high rate of individuals being approved for conditional release from VCBR has contributed to this slower growth. As of the date of this report, Virginia continues to have the highest rate of conditional releases from an SVP civil commitment facility in the country. Despite this, the lack of community resources and alternatives to secure confinement continue to contribute to the census and cost of VCBR. For more information, see the report submitted to the General Assembly dated October 1, 2020, “Program and Community Alternatives to Reduce SVP Civil Commitment." Investment in community-based resources would slow potential VCBR census growth, provide a continuum of treatment and supervision, and offer less costly alternatives to secure confinement.