RICHMOND–Through Operation Porch Lights Out, sex offenders are either required to remain at home with their lights out and not answer the door for trick-or-treaters or they are required to attend a meeting at a secure location during the evening hours when children are likely to be trick-or-treating, said Virginia Department of Corrections Director Harold Clarke.
This applies to sex offenders under probation and parole supervision throughout the Commonwealth on Halloween night.
Pursuant to the VADOC mission to enhance public safety, the Oct. 31 Porch Lights Out operation will closely monitor a high-risk population during a time when children could be vulnerable.
“This collaborative operation between local and state authorities has been in place since 2001,” Clarke said. “We hope to give families peace of mind with the knowledge that this program has proven to successfully handle high-risk offenders while children are out trick-or-treating.”
Operation Porch Lights Out represents a collaborative effort between VADOC Community Corrections, State Police, and local law enforcement. This year, of the 43 probation and parole districts in the Commonwealth, six districts plan to hold mandatory meetings at secure locations while the remaining districts will require offenders to remain at home with their lights out, not answering the door for trick-or-treaters.
To ensure offender compliance, VADOC Probation and Parole officers, Virginia State Police, and local law enforcement will make random home visits. Those offenders attending organized meetings will be required to participate in educational sessions and drug and alcohol screening while law enforcement provides oversight of any existing warrants. The Virginia State Police will verify and update each offender’s registration on the State Police Sex Offender Registry.
VADOC Community Corrections supervises about 57,000 probationers and parolees across the state. Of those, about 3,400 are sex offenders.
More information on the VADOC can be found at www.vadoc.virginia.gov.