Letter to Editor:
BLACK LIVES MATTER
With a Democratic governor in office, and the party in full control of Virginia state government for the first time in a generation.
Real criminal justice reform starts with repealing Truth –in- Sentencing “Proposal X” in Virginia, the most prominent sentencing reform movement of the 1990’s, implemented under segregationist George Allen (Governor 1994 – 1998), to effectively restrict and eliminate parole eligibility and good time credits.
The so-called Reform and Truth-in- Sentencing law became effective in Virginia on January 1, 1995. Virginia’s sentencing reforms abolished parole, reduced good time allowances to ensure that inmates serve a minimum of 85 percent of their imposed sentence, and became the most effective profitable warehouse prison complex business to date that disproportionately affect ethnic minorities.
Along with the federal government, Virginia is the worst states for insuring civil rights and one of eight states that have abolished parole and implemented the so-called Truth-in- Sentencing legislation that requires offenders to serve 85% of the imposed sentence.
The amount of time served by nonviolent offenders was supposedly, not changed by the move to Truth-in- Sentencing. Judge imposed sentences for nonviolent offenders are supposed to be lower under Truth-in- Sentencing, the time served in prison remains the same 85% because sentences are no longer reduced dramatically by parole and good time allowances.
Under Truth-in- Sentencing, offenders serve an average of 89.7% of the judicially imposed sentence. Although parole was abolished for all offenders convicted after January 1, 1995, parole remains in effect for individuals incarcerated prior to Truth-in-Sentencing reform, but post statute inmates, are repeatedly denied parole and good time allowances based on blanket denials of the serious nature of the offense and disrespect of the law, back door enforcement of the Truth-in-Sentencing policy.
How long, will our leaders continue to ignore the inhuman warehousing of our rehabilitated men, women and youths incarcerated in Virginia? Not long, Not Long!
Mr. Roy L. Perry-Bey, Executive Director
Civil Rights United Front for Justice
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