Virginia Governor Establishes Commission to Consider Reinstating Parole

VA Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced that he will create a commission to study parole and determine whether to bring it back to Virginia, a Fairfax Criminal Lawyer Muhammad Elsayed explains.

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.

Muhammad Elsayed
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Criminal, Traffic, and Injury Law Attorney Fluent in English and Arabic
11 Comments
MY COUSIN WAS ALSO CONVICTED FOR A CRIME THAT WAS AHE SAID SHE SAID TYPE THING. NON- VIOLENT THE JUDGE DID NOT LIKE HIS ATTITUDE WHICH AT THE TIME HE WAS 19. THE JUDGE GAVE HIM 30 YEARS. AND HIS FRIEND THAT WAS WITH HIM GOT NOTHING. ALL HIS FAMILY LIVES IN NC. He has been in jail 15 years his mom has died his dad has died our loving grandmother has died. He was a good kid. The time he got is not fair. Murderers Robbers DrugDealers dont even get this time.
by EILEEN February 21, 2020 at 06:57 PM
I made parole and have a successful life out here despite my past actions. Parole is a positive thing. It is based on incentives. Those who abide by the rules and better themselves by taking rehabilitative measures will gain early release. It alleviates overcrowding and costs, and it makes people all around responsible for their actions. By the way, IF the person doesn't make it on parole then they go back to prison...parole is a no-brainer.
by Brian Rooney January 29, 2020 at 11:51 AM
I.made parole after serving 11.5 years in Virginia. My life is fantastic. I have a great job in management and own a business that helps incarcerated men and women. They should reinstate parole because parole involves incentives and good behavior. It saves the state money. More rehabilitative measures should be given to ensure the man or woman in prison is better off once they are released. If you need help in the discussion ask a man or woman who made parole...some are.makinnit out here just fine.
by Brian Rooney January 28, 2020 at 05:58 PM
by Brian Rooney January 28, 2020 at 05:53 PM
My son committed a crime at the age of 17 on December 6, 2018. He then turned 18 in Feb of 2019. My son had no prior criminal history and he was charged with aggravated malicious wounding. During the time my son was locked up one of his friends was charged with a crime involving a gun and was approached on 4 different occasions and was asked about a specific type of gun the friend owned, my son would not tell as he stated I will not be labeled as a snitch and you guys have the person according to the news so why are you asking me. The exact words said to my son were "you need to help us help you" My son entered an Alford plea and the sentencing guidelines recommended 7 to 12 years and we knew he would get the 3 year mandatory for the firearm charge. Fast forward to the sentencing date, my son's counselor spoke at this hearing as she has worked with him from the age of 15 to the current day as he has ADHD. He did not kill the individual, the other person is alive. My son was sentenced to 43 years with 20 suspended. The commonwealth attorney stated he was a threat to the county, mind you he was at a place he was invited to, he did not rob or threaten the residence he was at. Another person pulled a gun on my son and because the other person was a convicted felon the gun he pulled on him disappeared. The commonwealth attorney also said he did not have the ability to be any better person than he was the night all of this happened, again this is a kid with no prior criminal history. The Justice system is the Unjustice system. Because my son would not talk in regard to a gun his friend may or may not have owned he was given a harsh sentence. I see cases of murder and people get less time. The commonwealth attorney stated she was going to make an example of the youth in the county we live in and she was going to start with my son. Something has to be done about the unfair treatment in our court rooms. If we were a family that had lots of money or a person who was of importance in the area, the charges and time would have either been nothing or very slight. Every person deserves the same treatment regardless. How does throwing these people in prison for years rehabilitate them in any way? All that does is create an individual who cannot contribute to society because they don't know any other way. My son will spend his years of developing who and what he is in prison, so he will be that institutionalized person. I think the parole needs to come back to Virginia. I understand not every inmate deserves to be released but for those that do we need to look at and help. Even if it means creating more programs and halfway housing, there is not enough rehabilitation to help these people upon release. I work at an outpatient addiction center and I too often hear I can't get a job or I can't find a place to live so that will violate my probation and Ill go back to jail or prison. Our system is broken. How can we expect these people to be successful after prison? Like my son who will face all of these same things when he gets out if laws are not changed and society does not change the way we think. Our society is so quick to pass judgement without knowing the what, why, and how a person got to where they are, every inmate isn't a bad person, situations happen and mistakes are made. We need a major reform in the justice systems.
by Sherry Martin January 10, 2020 at 11:03 AM
Parole needs to be reestablished for all in the Commonwealth. No cut off dates!
by Richard Hughes December 30, 2019 at 03:23 PM
Yes I dont see why they would stop parole in Virginia. You have to many prisoners doing too much time for lesser crimes. Federal time use to be not hard time but long time. Now inmates in federal prisons are doing less time than state penitentiaries and that seems really odd to me considering you have to fit into a certain criteria to even get a federal charge. So how did they pass a law for federal inmates to do 65% of their time versus state inmates doing 85% of their time. This simply doesnt make any since. To me its sending a message that you might as well go all the way with what you doing because Im better off getting federal charges because Im going to do less time than state charges.
by China H Grant December 29, 2019 at 12:32 PM
The justice system is a complete joke. You have Judges going above the guidelines when they impose a sentence, court clerks abusing their positions and non violent offenders serving more time than those convicted of drug and other more serious crimes. So that they can spend their Rome on 23 hr a day lockdown in a for profit jail. Where is the fairness.....
by Demond December 28, 2019 at 10:12 PM
My husband took a plea in they gave him extra years.justice isn't getting serve in someone needs to put a stop to this period.
by Shaniece October 13, 2019 at 04:56 PM
My son had a first violent crime and was sentenced to 26 years. Even the prosecution was asking for a maximum of 20 years. This judge was out of control, he had already made up his mind on what he was sentencing because after family and friends came to speak for my son the judge did not even deliberate in giving his sentence. 6 months later they charged 3 others for a similar crime but where people were actually physically harmed and they were sentenced to 8 years. Where is the justice??? Some judges have conflicts they will not admit to and there is no oversight to them. Parole is the only way to catch these injustices and corrupt judges!! Bring back Parole so justice is served and not used for retaliation, payback or political gains.
by Lisa Curtis September 19, 2019 at 01:48 AM
The sentencing in the state of Virginia is incredibly harsh and has been seen to be ineffective. While we understand not everyone is fit for release or rehabilitation, abolishing parole has caused a devastating financial burden on the state and the tax payers. Tax payers I might add that has their family member incarcerated for an unjust amount of time. My life long friend and boyfriend committed one crime and his only crime and because he didn't know anything about another crime (they wanted him to tell them) they took each of his charges multiplied it by 5 and ran the sentence consecutive for 136 year sentence. ARE YOU KIDDING ME....HOW IS THIS JUSTICE? To complicate matters you abolish parole and when it is realized that thousands of inmates were sentence consecutively when in fact they didn't have to be or shouldn't have been to keep the court system from being flooded a rule is imposed that you have to already be in court on another motion in order to revisit a sentence revision. THIS IS NOT JUSTICE, THIS IS NOT CONDUCIVE TO REDUCING RECIDIVISM...THIS IS A MONEY MAKING GAME AND MISUSE OF POWER BY THE PROSECUTION.
by Kristina Ann Moss August 11, 2018 at 12:25 PM
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