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We Need Sentencing Reform in Virginia

I grew up on da west end of Richmond and I been locked up for eight years. I was charged a string of robberies back in 2011 when I was only 19 years old.I had robberies all over the tri-city areas. I was found guilty of of my first robbery in Petersburg. As you know when you are found guilty of a charge the next time you commit an a offense your sentencing guidelines go up. That law was made to punish repeat offenders and to try to prevent people from doing their time and then coming home and committing the same crime. In my case, being that I had string of robberies, every time I would go to a different jurisdiction to get sentenced my guidelines would go up as if I got convicted of robbery, then went home and came back out and caught another charge.They were sentencing me like I had a chance to correct my past behavior and then I got out repeated da same offense but actually this was my first time getting into serious trouble. I had a paid lawyer and he was explaining that to the judges that these guidelines shouldn't apply to me because I never been incarcerated for a felony. The last judge I went in front of was the only judge to agree and go under my guidelines. The other judges stuck to the guidelines and nobody would run my time concurrent. But all in all I got 13 years 5 months for 3 robberies with no gun and two attempts. They didn't look at or care about prior to the robberies -- the only thing I had on my record was a simple assault and a drug paraphernalia charge. Or that I had my high school diploma. Or the fact that around da time I committed my crimes it was around Christmas time, the most stressful time of the year for those trying to provide. Or even the fact that nobody got hurt, assaulted, or even touched in the robberies. They just took all my twenties away and told my I was lucky I didn't get more time than I got. I was only 19 when I got locked up I'll be 31 when I come home. I know what I did just like they but they don't know or care why. I know it's brothers with worse, with life sentences who are possibly never coming home. But I didn't need all this time to correct my mistakes, time I will never get back. What if instead of locking young brothers up they made us all get college degrees....Just a thought, thanx for your time, peace...

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