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Parole: A perspective from a family member of a prisoner

January 31, 2018

Thank you first and foremost for hosting the Prison Reform Rally. It was my first time attending an event like such but I really enjoyed. It was informative as well as supportive to be around like-minded individuals who are experiencing the same thing that you are dealing with on a daily basis.  I signed up to share my story and would love to have others understand the blatant criminal justice disparities that my husband along with hundreds of other individuals are dealing with in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

My husband, Jerry L James, is serving a 73-year sentence for a non-violent robbery offense. The sentence was imposed as a substitute for a life sentence, which was based primarily on very controversial sentencing guidelines that the court interpreted as mandatory. However, a life sentence was not required, and in Jerry’s case such a sentence was never just or fair. The judge suspended 35-years of the sentence but it was still severely outside the sentencing guideli