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Prison Reform Long Overdue

The whole state, as well as the incarcerated population, is excited regarding the changing of the guard in Richmond from a Republican to Democratic control. My prayer is that the newly elected officials will (1) keep their campaign promises and (2) invoke some needed thought and changes regarding prison reform in the Commonwealth.

I’ve heard much talk here regarding the possibility of reinstating parole as one of the measures that could take place as one of the methods to address overcrowding, fiscal strains on taxpayers, and other ills of Virginia’s mass incarceration issues. But why reinstate something that’s already broke? For an example, why so few men and women are actually released (monthly) that are still eligible under the old law? If reinstating parole becomes an option, it would definitely need it’s current policies revised and reformed.

Personally, being one of the many sentenced under the new law (1996/85%), I truly believe the lawmakers should look into re-implementing VA Code 53.1-202.3 sections 53.1-201 which would increase the current 4.5 days we are presently earning per month to, possibly, up to 30 days of earned good time per the VA Code. The Good Time Earnings would be incentive based i.e. good behavior, participating in peer programs and communities, going to trade school. This would be mirroring what has been done federally (First Step Act) and would impact everyone in VADOC.

Truly, it appears things are shaping up for much needed change. Yet, we can’t sit idle and watch, but need to continue to voice our concerns to our elected officials to achieve any favorable results to the issues that affect us.

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