VA Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced that he will create a commission to study parole and determine whether to bring it back to Virginia
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that he will create a commission to study parole and determine whether to bring parole back to Virginia. Parole, the process by which a convicted criminal defendant may be released after serving a portion of their sentence, was abolished in Virginia more than two decades ago during a high-crime period.
Since its abolition, convicted felons in Virginia must serve at least 85% of their prison sentence before being eligible for release based on good behavior. This system now in place obviously means far higher costs for tax-payers, often for the incarceration of non-violent offenders or first-time offenders.
With the Commonwealth already incurring significant costs to house tens of thousands of prisoners each year, the creation of this commission will hopefully reopen the debate on whether the current one-size-fits-all approach is effective—or even necessary. Hopefully, the commission will also address the equally important issue of refocusing sentencing on rehabilitation programs, particularly for first-time and non-violent offenders. Mental health challenges should also be addressed. However, with the republican-controlled state legislature currently in place, it remains to be seen whether real change will come of this commission in the near future.
If you, your family member, or a friend has questions about parole or other aspects of a criminal matter, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Greenspun Shapiro PC.