Fluvanna jail bookings lower than average

For its population, Fluvanna County is using the Central Virginia Regional Jail (CVRJ) in Orange less than the average of its neighbors, the Board of Supervisors learned at its Wednesday afternoon (Feb. 1) meeting.

Greene County comes in the lowest with 40.9 bookings per 1,000 residents in a four-year average spanning 2012-2015, said Neal Goodloe, criminal justice planner. Fluvanna is next with 42.1 bookings. Madison is higher with 50.2 bookings, then Orange with 62. Louisa has the highest percentage of bookings per population with 65.

Fluvanna has seen reductions in its felony bookings since 2013 based on data that runs through the end of 2015 – the most recent year for which data is available, said Goodloe.

Fluvanna books more people for felonies than it does for misdemeanors. That is good news, said Goodloe, because it means that the Fluvanna residents in jail are “the ones who really need to be there.”

The county also boasted the lowest per capita rate of bookings for felony drug crimes in the five-county jurisdiction for 2015, Goodloe said. About 22 bookings occurred that year compared to about 215 for Orange and Louisa each.

Fluvanna has the lowest bookings for sex offenses out of the five counties, with not even one booking per 1,000 residents over a four-year booking average compared to over five for Louisa, Goodloe said. It was unclear, however, whether this means that Fluvanna residents aren’t committing sex crimes or whether they are simply not being caught.

The African American population in jail is dropping “year after year,” Goodloe said, while the Caucasian population is holding steady. There are also significant increases in the number of female offenders, which Goodloe said is “a fairly well documented but poorly understood phenomenon that’s taking place all over the country.”

Goodloe said that Fluvanna residents who end up in CVRJ share the same top three offenses as those from the other four counties that feed into the jail, as well as offenders from Albemarle and Charlottesville. Those three offenses are property felonies (28.9 percent of Fluvanna’s bookings), traffic misdemeanors (17.4 percent), and violation of a court order (15.1 percent).

In comparison, the next most common charge in Fluvanna bookings is violent felony, which comprises 5.8 percent of Fluvanna’s bookings.

In fiscal year 2017 (FY17) Fluvanna paid $987,000 toward CVRJ, Goodloe said.

Robert Johnson, Region Ten executive director, told supervisors that his organization served 938 Fluvanna residents during FY16 at a total annual cost of $2.2 million. By contrast, Fluvanna’s FY17 contribution to Region Ten was $126,000.

“That is an excellent return on your investment,” Johnson said.

Region Ten has seen a 32 percent increase in Fluvanna residents using substance use disorder services in FY16. Every county is seeing that sort of increase, Johnson said, largely due to a “noteworthy” increase in opiate use. “We’re all sharing a pretty tough intractable problem,” he said.

Marty Brookhart, management analyst, delivered the FY17 second quarter budget report to supervisors. Halfway through the year, the county hopes to see about 50 percent of its budget spent, Brookhart said. Since county government to date has spent about 48.5 percent of its FY17 budget, the county is “pretty much right on track for where we should be,” Brookhart said.

Money set aside to pay County Attorney Fred Payne looks like it will be over-expended by about $80,000 to $100,000 by the end of FY17, Brookhart said. Supervisors will need to make a supplemental appropriation to cover the difference.

County Administrator Steve Nichols said that he received a letter from the Fluvanna Historical Society requesting a final answer on where supervisors wish to place a forthcoming Emancipation Proclamation monument.

Absent any Board decision by March 31, the historical society said it would place the monument on its own property at Maggie’s House in Palmyra.

Supervisor Mozell Booker, who has championed having the monument alongside a Confederate memorial at Civil War Park in Palmyra, said that she is still waiting on an opinion from the attorney general as to the legality of placing the monument in the park. She said she has been in touch with the historical society about the possibility of placing the monument at Dunbar school, which is a Rosenwald school in Palmyra that she said is in the process of being turned into an African American museum and community center.

Booker said she would speak with the historical society’s Board of Directors and have a preference in mind by the time supervisors take up the subject at their March 15 meeting.

Alan Saunders, Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) resident engineer, delivered VDOT’s quarterly report. He said that the roundabout at the intersection of Routes 15 and 53 is on schedule for completion in August.

He also said the planned roundabout at the intersection of Routes 53 and 618 (Lake Monticello Road) is on schedule to be advertised by the end of 2019.

VDOT has conducted another study on Route 600 (South Boston Road), the site of several recent crashes. VDOT is still in the process of following up on that study to determine ways to improve safety, Saunders said. Some possible improvements include variable message signs, an improved crosswalk at Slice Road, and safe areas for law enforcement to pull off and monitor road traffic. “Law enforcement is the key to reducing speeds,” Saunders said.