Today’s announcement by Virginia Governor McAuliffe to create a commission to study bringing parole back to Virginia is a critical step in balancing public safety needs in a cost effective way in the Commonwealth. A study to address reinstating parole in Virginia is long overdue after two decades of parole being abolished.
According to Billion Dollar Divide: Virginia’s Sentencing, Corrections and Criminal Justice Challenge, a report by the Justice Policy Institute (JPI), Virginia is spending hundreds of millions of dollars incarcerating people who could be safely returned to the community if there were an effective parole system. The state’s twenty year old policy framework around parole hasn’t kept up with the science, or Virginia’s needs. We now know that more people serving longer sentences and rising length-of-stay is not effective.
Governor McAuliffe should be commended for taking the initiative to review the state’s policy on parole and we are encouraged that this important issue is being addressed by the highest level of Virginia’s state government.
Click here to read the executive order.