Geriatric prisoners; conditional release. (SB624)

Introduced By

Sen. Lionell Spruill (D-Chesapeake) with support from co-patron Sen. Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Conditional release of geriatric prisoners. Allows any person serving a sentence imposed upon a conviction for a felony offense, other than a Class 1 felony, who (i) is 55 years of age or older and has served at least 15 years of the sentence imposed or (ii) is 50 years of age or older and has served at least 20 years of the sentence imposed, to petition the Parole Board for conditional release. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/07/2020Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/08/20 20105021D
01/07/2020Referred to Committee on Rehabilitation and Social Services
01/17/2020Reported from Rehabilitation and Social Services (9-Y 5-N) (see vote tally)
01/17/2020Rereferred to Finance and Appropriations
01/29/2020Reported from Finance and Appropriations (12-Y 2-N) (see vote tally)
01/30/2020Constitutional reading dispensed (37-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/31/2020Read second time and engrossed
01/31/2020Impact statement from DPB (SB624)
02/03/2020Pending question, not ordered (16-Y 24-N) (see vote tally)
02/03/2020Read third time and passed Senate (21-Y 19-N) (see vote tally)
02/12/2020Placed on Calendar
02/12/2020Read first time
02/12/2020Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
02/24/2020Continued to 2021 in Courts of Justice


Anonymous Voter writes:

This bill is ridiculous. It would let middle-aged murderers and rapists out of prison, under "geriatric release," even though many middle-age criminals have gone on to murder people, and there are middle-aged serial killers. There are famous serial killers who committed their crimes at ages older than the date at which people would qualify for release under this bill, such as Albert Fish, Dorothea Puente, and Peter Tobin.

"Geriatric" means old. "Geriatric release" is for old people who are weak and in bad health and can't kill or rape again. Not strong, middle-aged murderers and rapists.

Geriatric release shouldn't happen until people are at least in their 60s. And even then, it shouldn't be grated willy-nilly. Some people remain dangerous at even higher ages.

As a media web site notes, a "classic example is 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 imprisoned from 1979 to 2004 for killing his wife by stabbing her 14 times in front of her daughter. Then he assaulted a woman in 2010, but avoided a long prison sentence 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. He began stabbing her without warning, in front of a laundromat, in broad daylight, using knives he purchased two days earlier for that purpose."

Cheryl Davis writes:

As a Virginia resident, I do not support this bill. Anyone, regardless of age, should be required to serve out their entire sentence unless they’re on their death bed. Geriatric is not 50-55. I am over 60 and I assure you that I am still fully capable of doing anything I desire and am not geriatric by any stretch of the imagination. I expect to be fully functional well into my 70’s and 80’s, if not beyond. This bill is bastardizing the meaning of geriatric, with regards to human longevity today and increasing the likelihood that murderers, serial killers, molesters will increase. To assume 50-55 is a sufficient age to be deemed geriatric is likening human life to that of the 19th century and before. The prison system may be overcrowded, but releasing felons who are nor on their death bed is asking for even more crime and thus shifting the burden to other fields (police, fire and rescue, hospitals, etc. very shortsighted on the part of delegate Spruill to make a name for himself. Kill this bill.

Bill p writes:

The young enough to kill again bill

David Kent writes:

I'm 63 years old. I'm in perfectly good enough physical shape to carry out any crime my heart desires. So we put a 35 year old felon in jail for a crime that a jury agreed that a 40 year jail sentence is just. He spends 20 of those years eating well and working out daily in the prison gym. We let him out at 55, only serving half of his sentence, in better physical shape and more more well versed in criminality than when he went in, thanks to his fellow inmates. Brilliant!

Broken Hearted Parent writes:

The commenters here obviously don’t have a child arrested at 22 and given a life sentence because of bad choices in friends and a drug deal gone wrong. My son was never violent in his life. His one run in with the police was as a passenger in a stolen car as a teenager. Ths story is not unique. There are thousands of young men who were in similar scenarios. If you think prison is eating good and working out it shows your ignorance. There is so much gamesmanship by the DOC it would take a very long post to explain.