Geriatric prisoners; conditional release. (HB431)

Introduced By

Del. Don Scott (D-Portsmouth)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

Conditional release of geriatric prisoners. Provides that any person serving a sentence imposed upon a conviction for a felony offense, other than a Class 1 felony, (i) who has reached the age of 65 or older and who has served at least five years of the sentence imposed or (ii) who has reached the age of 60 or older and who has served at least 10 years of the sentence imposed shall be granted conditional release. Under current law, such persons may petition the Parole Board for conditional release, which may be granted or denied. Read the Bill »

Outcome

Bill Has Failed

History

DateAction
01/03/2020Committee
01/03/2020Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/08/20 20102011D
01/03/2020Referred to Committee on Public Safety
01/15/2020Assigned PS sub: Public Safety
01/30/2020Impact statement from DPB (HB431)
01/30/2020Subcommittee recommends striking from docket (8-Y 0-N)
02/11/2020Left in Public Safety

Comments

Bill Mebane writes:

This bill is a bad idea, because it would require prisons to release dangerous inmates, such as murderers, just because they are old -- 60 or 65, depending on how long they have been in. Some killers remain dangerous into their 70s. For example, Albert Flick. At the age of 76, he murdered a woman, stabbing her at least 11 times while her twin children watched. He had previously been in prison from 1979 to 2004 for killing his wife, when he stabbed her 14 times in front of her daughter. After doing his time for that crime, he was released, and then assaulted a woman in 2010. He avoided a long prison sentence for that crime because a judge deemed him too old to be a continuing threat. He proved the judge wrong by killing Kimberly Dobbie in front of her children in 2018, stabbing her without warning in broad daylight. This bill would take away the parole board's discretion to not release inmates when it thinks they are dangerous. It would make release automatic, if the inmate is 65 and has been in prison for 5 years, or if the inmate is 60 and has been in prison for 10 years.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

I can't say whether the bill is a good idea or not, but I want to note that it expressly excludes people who have committed the worst crimes ("Class 1 felonies").

Bill Mebane writes:

This bill would require even the release of most cold-blooded murderers who hit age 60. Class 1 felonies only include a minority of murderers. Most deliberate, premeditated murders are not Class 1 felonies. Albert Flick's actions in fatally stabbing a woman at least 11 times in front of her twin sons -- using knives he purchased two days earlier for this purpose -- was not a Class 1 felony. Neither was his earlier act of fatally stabbing his wife 14 times in front of her daughter. Even most premeditated, cold-blooded murders are merely Class 2 felonies, not Class 1 felonies, and such murderers would be eligible for release under this bill, if they were 65 and had served 5 years, or were 60 and had served 10 years. As the example of Albert Flick, who committed murder again at age 76, shows, the murderers released under this bill could be quite dangerous despite being over age 60. That is why I oppose this bill.

Betsie Fobes writes:

I support HB461, Nearly all the people who this bill would affect, if it becomes a law, are well past their crime days. They were sentenced under old law. Most were given extremely long sentences with the idea that they would be released on parole. The VPB is skittish and it is very difficult for most of the remaining 3800 inmates eligible for parole to be released conditionally. They languish in prison. Most are rehabilitated.

From the dollars and cents point of view, the older an inmate gets, the more his or her health declines. Bad health costs us more. These men and women will be released in the next few years. Let's pass this bill so there is hope and these offenders can begin a job, get under the social security system and make arrangements for their retirement. This is the best way to have them not wards of the state.

If HB431 becomes law, everyone wins--the taxpayer, VADOC, and lastly, the inmate who can become a member of free society.

I voluntarily work with those at the reentry level. I stand behind my beliefs.

BBF

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