Parole; application of statutes. (SB91)

Introduced By

Sen. John Edwards (D-Roanoke) with support from co-patron Del. Kaye Kory (D-Falls Church)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Application of parole statutes. Repeals the abolition of parole. The bill also provides that the Virginia Parole Board shall establish procedures for consideration of parole for persons who were previously ineligible for parole, because parole was abolished, to allow for an extension of time for reasonable cause. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


11/27/2019Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/08/20 20100438D
11/27/2019Referred to Committee on Rehabilitation and Social Services
01/10/2020Rereferred from Rehabilitation and Social Services (15-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/10/2020Rereferred to Judiciary
01/24/2020Assigned Juciciary sub: Criminal Law
01/24/2020Assigned Judiciary sub: Criminal Law
01/29/2020Impact statement from DPB (SB91)
02/03/2020Committee substitute printed to LIS only 20107456D-S1
02/03/2020Incorporates SB809 (Morrissey)
02/03/2020Continued to 2021 in Judiciary (15-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)


Jamie Hughes writes:

Offenders should have to earn their release from prison, not just automatically let go after a set discretionary parole creates such a system. Also, this will allow us to release the elderly offenders who present the least threat to the public, yet who cost the most taxpayer dollars to incarcerate. Parole is a great tool for the VA DOC to be able to utilize. It will save the state money, give offenders an incentive to rehabilitate, and make our community safer by not releasing offenders until they have demonstrated a change in their behavior.

Brandon writes:

I agree that convicts should be allowed parole

Kat Ferguson writes:

The prison system is nothing more than the warehousing of human beings, just north of slavery. There's no rehabilitation, no consideration & no justification for a lot of the sentences imposed.

Just look at how the country reacts to certain types of crimes committed by one person versus another. The same crime committed by people of different races are astoundingly different. There is no justice for all & it sure isn't blind.

It's sad that the people who know the least about what it means to grow up disadvantaged or profiled are the ones making decisions that put 17 year olds in prison for the better part of their lives or for life.

Our prisons are nothing more than a system to remove whom are deemed 'undesirable' & move them to a warehousing facility - mere mistakes made by God.

Kat Ferguson writes:

Parole should be implemented & thank goodness someone recognizes that.

Kyra Tanner writes:

Parole is a chance to prove that they have changed and can be productive members of society. The governor got a second chance didnt he? #justsaying

Donna Dean-Chrivia writes:

Parole should be available to each and every person who has proven that rules can be followed. For example, an incarcerated individual who has had no disciplinary violations or sanctions while incarcerated, who has been willing and cooperative to participate in their individual required program plan for classes and completed their requirements. I work in a prison and I see so many who have followed the rules and completed programs they were required to do and get denied year after year for parole. I have also seen on many occasions as well an incarcerated individual who has done nothing to complete their programming and have had many "write ups" or disciplinary violations with significant sanctions imposed as a result make parole and walk out. I do not believe a panel of parole board officials who are having a bad day should just on a "whim" determine if someone should be eligible to go or have to stay longer. I also do not feel that the parole board always has the correct information about an incarcerated individual because it is not always relayed to the board for their review prior to the hearing. I know the parole board has access to the disciplinary violations and sanctions should they choose to review that but what about all the undocumented "good" things that these individuals have done while incarcerated such as mentoring another person to do better while incarcerated and improve their life as well. What about the individual who has also went above and beyond their requirements to improve themselves but aren't acknowledged for it through the parole board process because it has never been documented and the parole board doesn't know it?

Also, what about the sentences that are being imposed as well that are unfair? I have followed several Virginia cases where murder was involved and the individual was eligible for parole in a very short time but others who were sentenced on other matters that got a life sentence. The sentences that are being imposed are not always reflective of the crime involved and then to have the parole board deny an individual for the possibility of parole is unjust. For those who were never eligible for parole is extremely unjust and needs to be resolved.

My statements above are of my opinion and my opinion only and are not the opinion of anyone else or reflective from anyone else nor the prison system in which I am employed. My opinion comes from the fact that I see what happens daily inside a restricted environment and have saw positive changes in individuals in their lives but have also saw the opposite as well but again the parole board I feel most of the time only sees the negatives. I believe that anyone deserves a second chance if it is earned by completing required programming and remaining disciplinary free while incarcerated and have worked towards their rehabilitation. I am also of the opinion and believe in geriatric parole for many reasons but also for the simple reason that most governments complain about the cost of housing individuals and the likelihood for geriatric prisoners increase because of their medical costs if the individual incarcerated can get the medical care they truly need during their incarceration, however, if anyone who has had an incarcerated family member knows that their family is not getting the medical care they truly need when it takes months to get them to see an outside doctor for a new onset serious illness or required surgery in most prison systems. Give the individual a geriatric parole (or regular parole if they are eligible) so that they can receive the medical care they need when they need it. Which brings me to my next point, any incarcerated individual does not get the appropriate and proper nutrition they need as well, therefore, with the lack of proper nutrition and lack of proper on time health care what are we as citizens paying taxes for that goes into the correctional system?

In summary, we as individuals are willing to give anyone on the streets a second chance - incarcerated individuals deserve a second chance if they have proven themselves while incarcerated.

Melniekque SPAIN writes:

Hi my Dad name is Melvin Allen Spain he has been in prison since I was 2 years old .. I’m 24 now and he is still incarcerated his release date is set for 2055 I’ll never see my dad again if he doesn’t get parole please help my family see him again

Melniekque SPAIN writes:

He didn’t murder anyone. He didn’t rape anyone Whatever he did as long as it didn’t harm anyone else is no reason to loose your life behind bars

Estrelda Lewis writes:

Parole should be reimplemented ASAP.

Quonekka Young writes:

I do believe parole should be implemented,for the one's who have served a 15years or more and have improved in every aspect of their journey. Everyone makes mistakes and you just have to give them a chance. Also as a taxpayer I would rather pay for the school system to have all their needs met than paying for them to keep a prisons going like it's a priority. Our children our priority and they have to attend the schools who doesn't have all the employees they need such as teachers,security guards,classroom assist, and more. Not only do they need more programs for bullying and for those kids who need help with schoolwork,when their parents cant afford a tutor. It might not seem like it necessary but it is. If we dont educate then we will have more kids that turn into adult that get incarcerated.

Fred Woehrle writes:

This bill reinstating parole is extreme and a mistake. It would allow even people who commit many types of willful, deliberate, and premeditated murders to seek release after a mere 15 years (Class 2 offenders). That includes some unusually brutal murderers, who are likely to remain dangerous even after 15 years. While many criminals may "age out" of crime, unusually brutal ones are likely to remain dangerous for far more than 15 years. Even Class 1 offenders, like a murderer who abducts a woman to rape and torture her to death, or a serial killer, would eventually be eligible for parole under this bill despite receiving a life sentence. Releasing such inmates -- even those that genuinely have reformed -- will increase the murder rate by reducing the penalty for committing murder. Longer sentences deter and prevent crime more effectively than short ones. See, e.g,, National Bureau of Economic Research, "Sentence Enhancements Reduce Crime." Deterrence is vital in preventing murder and other violent crime. Murderers can go on to commit murder again after being released, even after being imprisoned for many years. See, e.g, Associated Press, "Man Convicted for Killing Woman in Front of Her Children," discussing a 76-year-old murderer who killed again after being released.

Cassandra A Macklin writes:

The bill should be passed because everyone deserves a second chance.

Shimeka Gardner writes:

I strongly believe parole should be implemented for those who have served 10 years or more if death or rape wasn't involved. Everyone deserves a second chance when they have proven a change of life. Some people life challenges and difficulties took over and the best decision wasn't made,they just wanted to survive. Also they have proven they learned a lesson and you know who needs to stay put. As a taxpayer I would like to see our contributions go to mental behavior programs, school systems, second chance programs and trade centers to help our community. Being incarcerated is not the only answer. Please pass the bill to bring parole back. It will save more families.

Lachele Carter writes:

I have 2 brothers that’s been lock up since 1995 on there first Offense in they got 20 years with out Parole in I don’t think that’s fair to them. People with they first offense should not have to do all that time it’s just not right I don’t think it’s not like they killed someone. I think they should Allowed parole to them they been in jail since 1995 in now it is 2019 about to be 2020. All I’m asking is to let them out on parole please. Some people I think Learn from they Mistakes. All I’m asking is for Y’all to bring parole back for the ones that’s need to be out here on parole like my brother’s. There is people Reaping little kids out here in they get a slap on the Wrist in I think they should get life in jail just like Murderers. In some Murderers don’t Even get life in jail which that’s not fair to some people family’s. All Y’all do to The Rapist in Murderers is to let them free some they can keep on doing this thinks over in over again but for the one just got first offense get 29 years to life that is so crazy how thinks work. Please bring parole back.

Sarah khumalo writes:

My husband been up locked up since 2003,he has educated himself,taken classes,graduated..He gphas kepted his record clear,,he is about to start a welding course in December.He has better himself in more ways then 1....please bring parole back to give him a second chance,and to start over..Thank you Sarah....

Heidi Beech writes:

Think about've been sentenced to 20 yrs without the possibility of parole. What reason do you have to make any changes? No matter what you do in prison, you'll be there for 20 yrs. So where is the incentive to make better life choices? Where is the incentive to grow, continue education, work in prison jobs or participate in the various programs many prisons offer? There isn't one. So we sentence people to decades without reason to better themselves and then once the sentence is up, they are released, worse off than before they were incarcerated.
Parole is a goal. It's a reason to be a better person. Without that goal, we are creating a revolving door system and frankly, a more dangerous situation.
Parole should be reinstated in Virginia so that prisoners can honestly be rehabilitated and given the chance to live a productive life in society.

Eva Hercules writes:

I agree

Jamie Hughes writes:

True, some people have committed horrible crimes, but the parole board is aware of this. That is why alot of offenders who go before the parole board are not released. Bringing back parole does not mean all the criminals are immediately let go. Parole alllows highly educated and capable individuals to examine and evaluate an offender to see if they have been rehabilitated. Charles Manson went up for parole for year after year, yet he was never released. Parole will give offenders a goal to work towards, a chance to become the better person they can be, while also allowing the state to better utilize taxpayer money by releasing those offenders deemed ready to rejoin society. It's time for VA to move to the forefront of our countries moral evolution.

Ashley Oates writes:

I believe everyone should get another chance people need to see that they have Hope and Faith out here I know they did the crime but they shouldn't have to spend the rest of their life in the system they should be able to come out and try to do their best again they need to have programs to help them and support them parole is a must needed things some people are doing time for crimes they didn't even do families and kids should be able to reunite with their loved ones again keeping them in the system is not going to make it better for the up raising boys that think it's okay to do whatever and stay in trouble they need their fathers and these girls need their mothers please bring parole back they're not just hurting we hurting too

Ashleigh Sadler writes:

I Agree

Jasmine White writes:

Definitely agree with parole coming back!

April Varney writes:

I agree!

Amy Hodge writes:

Kat Ferguson...God Bless you!! You said everything I wanted to!!

Nancy Pierce writes:

Passing SB91 is important to every resident of VA. How we treat our prisoners is a reflection of our state / Commonwealth. This bill is a progressive, much-needed step that would reverse the backwards, draconian “no-parole” policy that has resulted in overcrowded prisons even here in VA - a state with one of the nation’s largest number of prisons – all of which cost Virginia taxpayers $1.3 billion-plus annually to support.

Reinstating parole would help greatly to motivate and encourage good behavior, giving inmates who have learned from their mistakes an opportunity to more quickly re-enter society and be productive, engaged citizens. Everyone deserves a second chance. Please consider this bill to reinstate parole in Virginia now!

Share this information with everyone you know!!

Chad Grooms writes:


Zenna Ingram writes:

I agree. I would like to see my brother come home.

Mia writes:

Bringing back parole would be beneficial for many families. People are sentenced 10+ years for crimes that others would be given 2 years or less. The sentencing can be extremely harsh for the crimes committed.

Arlene Edwards writes:

I have a grandson incarcerated for a crime he did not commit. He has done 13 yrs going on 14 years on a 28 year sentence. Have a great institutional record. Had never been in trouble with the law enforcement until this incident, have a great school record was class president on his way to college at Virginia State University. His name is Marquise Edwards inmate # 1194590 a good candidate for parole.

Krystle White writes:

I agree, bring let our love ones come home, I believe in second chances, and maturity changes your outlook on life. I pray for this bill to pass, BRING BACK PAROLE. I know men great men who has been in prison over 20 years since the age of 17 and is now in their 40’s ... over 20 years in prison why are they still there, it saddens me to see great strong men and women locked away miserable facing dangerous situations daily, majority of the time being from Correctional Officers. Jarade Smith, Brandon Green and Deante White, and many many many others deserves a second chance.

Anonymous Voter writes:

Keep truth in sentencing, don't bring back parole. Back when there was parole, people only served 30% of their sentences, and murderers and rapists got out of prison early enough to commit murder and rape again. Virginia has a much lower than average crime rate because it is tough on crime and has largely abolished parole. According to some measures, it is the second safest state in the country. And longer sentences due to the abolition of parole worked: crime went down, to the point where Virginia's prison population eventually started falling, because fewer people were committing murder and rape and getting sent to jail in the first place.

This bill is unfair. It would allow people who got shorter sentences because parole didn't exist to get parole! Courts sometimes choose somewhat shorter sentences for criminals because they know parole doesn't exist, and right now, parole doesn't exist in Virginia (except for geriatric release and good-behavior credits). But this bill would retroactively apply it to people in prison, resulting in their incarceration being excessively short. (Parole can shorten your incarceration by 70%; but a court taking into account that you weren't eligible for parole may already have shortened the sentence it might otherwise have given you by 20% or so. A violent criminal definitely shouldn't get both reductions -- the reduction in sentence combined with a further reduction in incarceration).

Angela writes:

Bringing back parole would give individuals a second chance. You cannot prove that you have changed if you don't have a chance to do so. Bringing back parole would be a glimmer of hope for many families and a reward for those who work hard to earn it while incarcerated. People do change. Prison is like just about anything else, you get out of it what you put into it and if you stay on the right path while inside those prison walls then you should be given a chance to prove yourself in society. All humans make mistakes. Yes, some are worse than others but we learn from our mistakes and grow. Some inmates are long overdue a chance at parole and have paid their dues ten times over and deserve a fair shot at getting out and showing the world the transformations they have made to improve themselves. Bring back parole! #restoreparole

Debra T. writes:

Today, 6.5 million adults have an immediate family member currently in jail or prison. Half of Americans have family members who have been incarcerated. African Americans are 50 percent more likely than white people to have a family member who is formerly or currently incarcerated, and three times more likely to have a family member who has spent at least 10 years in prison. The Land of the Free, America, has the highest incarceration rate in the world. The United States represents about 4.4 percent of the world's population, it houses around 22 percent of the world's prisoners. Virginia is 37th in the nation for incarceration--only 13 other states incarcerate more of it's citizens.

Virginia's prisons house 38,000 souls with the cost to the taxpayers of Virginia of approx. $1.5 billion annually. Due to the repeal of parole, the inmate population is an aging one creating higher and higher medical costs. Incarceration rates in cities, due to rehabilitation programs, is going down. While the incarceration rates in rural areas is rising due to the lack of funding for these same types of programs. A good example can be seen in Augusta County where Middle River Regional Jail is set to present to the taxpayers there, a bill for a $93 million expansion. Our tax dollars can be better spent!

Restoration of parole will not automatically release prisoners, it will just make them eligible due to time served. They will have to earn the release through good behavior and self improvement. Now many have no incentive for self improvement or good behavior.

Criminal Justice reform is a bipartisan issue backed by our Republican President Trump. President Trump backed and signed into law last year the Federal criminal justice reform law, First Step. It reduced time served to 65% in Federal prisons. Virginia's is 85%.

End mass incarceration. Support criminal justice reform. Reinstate parole in Virginia!!

Tom Lydon writes:

When a loved one goes to prison it is said that the whole family is in prison--parents, siblings, spouses, and children, especially children, suffer as well.
Please restore parole in Virginia. This will motivate inmates to earn parole through exhibiting positive behavior. Please give these people who are making positive changes in their lives a second chance. This would enable them to return to their families and to society as productive citizens.

Denise writes:

I think bringing back parole is great idea. Everyone should be given a second chance. Some sentences are harsh and very inappropiately given. There are some incarcerated and were young and have changed alot bettered their education and theirselves. I stand behind parole a million percent.

Kimberly F writes:

I am requesting the restoration of Parole for all! Many sentences do not fit the crimes committed. Excessive sentences are more often rendered than not. Judges are abusing there powers going outside the guidelines. Anytime someone is sentenced to decades 73/50=23yr active sentence for robbing/stealing illegal drugs that were being sold inside of an convenience store..and the Judge said on the record he wasnt aware what spice have a problem!! I do not condone his poor however if the business owner had not been selling the illegal spice my son and the others wouldnt have gone there. 23 year sentence, he was 19 when he was arrested and he will be 41 years old when he gets out. Th Please give second chances to those who are deserving. There will many that will never be granted parole. I understand and accept that and I would hope that all the Citizens of VA would as well. The parole board has to ensure that the communities safety is a priorities.
VaDOC advises that they offer programs and promote rehabilitation. This is far from the truth. Offenders that are set to be released are to go through re-entry atleast 18monthd prior. I know for a fact these programs are not being done at several facilities 2 facilities that hold long timers.

I am sure that all these who are opposed to SB91 do not have anyone incarcerated. I pray that each of them never have to experience e the pain or trust that a group of elected men and woman will finally vote to give our loved ones a second chance to right their wrongs.
To start over, in my sons case to get his driver's license for the first time, to finish his 1 semester of college... little things that we take for granted.

Thank you


Deborah Campbell writes:

My son has been incarcerated since 2007 he was sentenced to 22 1/2 year for robbing a bank
He’s since has obtained 10 certification has been in any trouble in 5 yrs and he’s still in a level 3 waiting to move to la level 2 prison when he should be home taking care of his family the system is so twisted these young men and women are nothing but free workers and the longer they keep them in those living on top of one another day in day working for free and they get paid from the sweat of these human being be treated like animals is a disgrace to mankind

Toby Hodges writes:

My brother has been on prison for 25 years and the prison system is a joke.. They charged brother with a tool the guards made and they was using it for 6 months then my brother got into over a new tv we had sent him and they would not let him keep cause his old one started working and they wanted us to pick up a 13in tv and be stuck with it. My brother told the guard to send it back so his family could get the money back.. so they charged him that tool that they used for months cause he work on maintenance.. so they sent him to other prison and they let 15 people jump him and guards just watched. Finally when he said they gonna kill me they opened the doors to help him... my brother isn't no saint but he has 3 years lefted of he dont get out this prison he is in he might not make it out... sad situation

Anonymous Voter writes:

This bill would be a disaster. Abolishing parole in Virginia was a huge success. Crime fell enormously after it was abolished, as murderers and other violent criminals realized they would actually have to do serious time, rather than murderers getting out after a relative short time in prison. Although the prison population initially surged as a result of the abolition of parole, eventually, it began falling, as the crime rate fell due to longer times in prison deterring crime more effectively.

The net result is that today, Virginia has one of the country's lowest crime rates. And despite murderers and rapists spending somewhat longer in prison in Virginia than most states, Virginia does not have a particularly big prison population. It has a smaller prison population than some other states with similar or even smaller populations.

Northern Virginia has a much lower crime rate than Maryland's DC suburbs precisely because Virginia law is tougher on crime than Maryland. Fairfax County is demographically similar to Montgomery County, but has a much lower crime rate, because in most of the last generation, it was tougher on crime. Back in the 1970s, when both Fairfax and Montgomery were equally soft on crime, they both had similar crime rates. Then, Fairfax prosecutors became tougher than in Montgomery. And later, Virginia state law changed to get tougher on crime.

Abolishing parole was a big success in reducing crime and discouraging people from doing terrible things that will get them in prison in the first place. Deterring crime not only prevents people from being murdered or raped, it also keeps perpetrators from doing things that result in them being locked up.

Debra T. writes:

“Last month, the Middle River Regional Jail Authority Board submitted a $96.5 million expansion plan to the Board of Corrections for review. City staff say that plan would cost Harrisonburg taxpayers nearly $10 million.”

Where does your legislator stand on criminal justice reform? Reducing mass incarceration by passing HB 430 Parole and/or HB 1532 Earned Sentence Credits could greatly reduce or even eliminate that $10 million dollar bill to taxpayers for the Middle River Regional Jail expansion.

Read the article.
Rural America Has Highest Jail Incarceration Rates in the U.S. Despite Low Crime Rates, New Report Reveals

Connie writes:

Parole should be brought back it gives people a chance to prove they have changed.

Tina writes:

Parole should be brought back in Virginia. To many harsh sentences has been given.
Some people don't know what it's like to have loved ones rotting away in prisons.
And I'm sure if they have loved ones in prison they would be all for parole.
I have 3 sons who were sentenced to 30 years for defending themselves against a mob of drunken college students who attached them.
They have served 18 years. Enough is Enough...
One of my sons who never even threw a punch, and is now legally blind.
The judicial system where we live is a joke.
Bring our loved ones back home to us where they belong.

Monica Ro writes:

parole should be implemented, compassion is as an attribute of God. If people have changed please let them live a promising life.

Sandra K. writes:

I agree that an offender should be considered for parole after serving the majority of their sentence, but the incarceration record must be closely reviewed to determine that he or she has truly modified his/her behavior. Also, there are so many other aspects to consider -- home plan must be in place, no charges since the offender's incarceration period, model offender, GED required plus proof of other certificates of training earned while incarcerated, family support, possibly job lined up for offender, and P&B supervision until the end of sentenced time. We must remember that safety for our community is the number concern to release an offender. Incarceration does not always bring about reformation of the mind.

Sandra A Jackson writes:

Everyone deserves a second chance I think they should do like the feds once their jail time is up they have to go to a halfway house and and going to that halfway house they have to obtain a job with in the time that is given they can't get into any kind of they can't get into any kind of trouble whatsoever and in order to be considered to her early release you must have a high school diploma or a GED you must have taken up some kind of word trade or finished a college degree while in there yes there needs to be revised meant as far as parole it should go back to the old ways the old way in which they had Parolees to get out instead of this 85% because people are missing seeing their kids grow up and everything but if you do the crime you do the time that's understandable but they're still human and they need to do away with the hole that they put inmates in they need to revise bills for the inmates they need to have better quality food that they feeding them instead of feeding them slop cuz that's exactly what their food look like some slot like they pigs living in there

Rae writes:

I remember *why* Virginia stopped parole. Some winner of a human being got released based on parole and then went out and shot 6 women - think one died. No reason other than pure hate. The state was so embarrassed that they stopped parole.

I'm mixed about parole. We hear all of these heartbreaking stories, but a lot of these folk just go back and do what got them there in the first place.

Betsie Fobes writes:

One bad apple doesn't spoil the entire bunch. One drunk drive can kill an entire family. That doesn't mean we punish everyone by outlawing all liquor and all cars.

Debra T. writes:

Rae, an internet search does not substantiate your claim. What are your sources? According to the Washington Post August 28, 2015 article, "Reconsidering Parole in Virginia":

"Then-Gov. George Allen (R) and the legislature believed abolishing parole would prevent new felony offenses and reduce recidivism by keeping career criminals off the streets. The legislation also was intended to divert nonviolent drug offenders from the criminal justice system into treatment, thereby reserving prison beds for the most violent offenders."

The effects of Bill Clinton's War on Drugs and 1994 Crime Bill was running rampant through the country at the time. The War on Drugs is Over. Unfortunately, Drugs Won, the people lost. End Mass Incarceration. Reinstate Parole in Virginia. Vote YES for SB 91 to Reinstate Parole.

Lindsay Michie writes:

If the criminal justice system is truly about rehabilitation then parole should be restored in Virginia. Locking up large numbers of people for long periods of time is no way to govern a society and does great damage to our communities. It's not only morally correct, it's also practical and makes great economic sense.

Delinda Mudd writes:

I strongly agree that parole should be brought back. Everyone deserves a second chance. And everyone makes mistakes,some just don't get caught. There have been alot of inmates that has been sentenced to a longer sentence just to making an example for others. If they served a certain amount of their time without getting into trouble and doing productive things like GED,classes etc....why not give them another chance. God gives us all multiple chances. Let those love ones come back to their families.

Bianca Moreno writes:

I strongly agree, and I pray to God that it will pass, so we can all see our loved ones come home one day. We are all human beings, and we all make mistakes no body is perfect, but god, please bring back parole. They deserve a second chance in life.

Kiara writes:

I strongly agree to bring back parole

J. BEL writes:

I have a best friend sitting in nottoway correctional on his 22nd year for 1st degree murder he took a plea on at 18 yo. He will be 40 in March. 40 yrs old. He got caught up in something very stupid and took the wrap. I am in now way dismissing his role in the stupid decision that ultimately led to the lost life of the guy he was doing dirt with. BUT what i am saying is he along with the other disproportionate amount of black and brown young men and women who have grown up inside of prison but have managed to actually rehabilitate themselves in a system built to warehouse them SHOULD be given a second chance to succeed BEFORE they are 50 or 60 yrs old and get out and remain a burden on tax payers. He should be able to get good time, to earm his freedom since so many of you use the word earn. MY best friend has earned his GED, completed numerous programs and is currently a mentor, all things he can be outside. He has actively sought out programs to better himself. HE HAS EARNED his right to be a participant in society. We have all fallen short the difference is we didn't get caught.

I have been with him since he was 18 and the young boy who went in is NOT the MAN I speak with daily today.
Many of you have opinions and think allowing someone the opportunity to at least present themselves to a parole board is going to increase crime. Parole boards aren't going to get it right all the time, thats not something they can control, but to not give everyone, not just the drug addict a chance to redeem themselves and show that they can be rehabbed is cruel and unusual punishment. I am not who i was at 18 , 25, hell 30 and yet I am given a chance everyday but yet we lose compassion when it comes to incarcerated individuals.

I watched that senate meeting this morning and how that panel made up of 12 white men, 1 black woman, and 2 white woman, didn't even try and pass this bill. They pushed it off, they cared more about the bottom line because truth be told mass incarceration is a business and letting people out decreases the money to the state who cares if it cost the tax payers 40k to house one inmate. Who cares if black and brown families never reunite and fathers and mothers sons and daughters never get to be families again. Senator Edwards barely advocated for HIS bill. THEN made all violent crime exempt when they couldn't even agree on the definition of robbery which is part of that violent crime umbrella. Not everyone convicted of a violent crime is guilty or did the actual crime but they got to sit and rot. So guess what they tabled it to 2021 where they will again not do anything. The least they can do now is vote HB1532 in because if not whats the point of doing good in jail if the plan is to have them rot or die in jail for something they did as a dumb teen. I imagine its easy for the senate members to sleep at night because they don't send money for comissary or accept collect calls or email inmates through jpay or cry at night praying one day their loved one will come home before the age of death.

Bridgett Sledd writes:

First I believe that if you break a law you should have to do work to restore or repay society for the damages or impact on individuals lives you have caused. However our current judicial system is not one where much rehabilitation can take place. Inhuman conditions and limited programs in prisons do not allow for this to happen at times. I think bringing back parole and putting some good evidence based practices to increase positive change in individuals, instead of institutionalized slavery and the monotony that these people live through that does nothing at times to make them better. Parole would give people hope and most importantly motivation to do the right thing, but we’ve also got to train the people working in the prisons to not play the position of overseer, but facilitators of rehabilitation.

Kathryn writes:

The people that are opposed to this bill passing keep commenting that "this would be terrible, murderers and rapists will be let free". You sound dense-- because Senate Bill 91 CLEARLY states that an inmate is ONLY eligible for parole if they have no prior or current violent felonies.

And I quote:
"1. That § 53.1-165.1 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:

§ 53.1-165.1. Limitation on the application of parole statutes.

A. The provisions of this article, except §§ 53.1-160 and 53.1-160.1, shall not apply to any sentence imposed or to any prisoner incarcerated upon a conviction for a violent felony offense, as defined by subsection C of § 17.1-805, committed on or after January 1, 1995. Any person sentenced to a term of incarceration for a violent felony offense, as defined by subsection C of § 17.1-805, committed on or after January 1, 1995, shall not be eligible for parole upon that offense.

B. The provisions of this article shall apply to any sentence imposed or to any prisoner incarcerated upon a conviction for a felony offense, other than a violent felony as defined by subsection C of § 17.1-805, committed on or after January 1, 1995. Any person sentenced to a term of incarceration for a felony offense, other than a violent felony as defined by subsection C of § 17.1-805, committed on or after January 1, 1995, shall be eligible for parole upon that offense.

C. The Parole Board shall establish procedures for consideration of parole of persons entitled under subsection B consistent with the provisions of § 53.1-154 allowing for extension of time for reasonable cause."

RESEARCH THE ISSUE COMPLETELY BEFORE DECIDING YAY OR NAY. This bill would bring much needed relief to families of inmates, taxpayers, and the Commonwealth as a whole.

Tracy Jones writes:

This bill should be passed there are so many children that have went in to the prison system at 16 , 17 even younger tried as adults given large harsh sentences every one deserves a second chance, I'm sure if someone was given a chance to come home early even if they had to be monitored up until the actual release date they would jump at the chance , If the family of the prisoner has to pay to have their love one processed out the system I'm sure they would use there last dime. what ever the cost is allow the family and the prisoner to pay the cost if necessary so that way no one complains about what a tax payer has to pay . I'm just saying give people a second chance give people options .


Parole for nonviolent criminals is a logical tool which should be available for our judiciary system in Virginia and if used with good judgment could help rehabilitate prisoners, benefit their families, and reduce crowding in our prison system.
Hopefully this bill will pass in 2021

Shointa Dorsey writes:

Parole should be back ; my hubsand was sentenced to 88 years with 63 suspended in 1997. He has served over 20 years already and was only 15 when it happened. Charged as an adult with a child like mind ; could you imagine. Not only does he have a learning disability he had no educational ,legal , financial support from his family at the time to even help. That was his first offense and was convicted based on another multiple convicted felons words with bitched evidence. He has completed multiple certifications , maintained a job , continued his pursuit in education but even that shows his disabilities mental based on his test scores. Well now he has that support and he has done that work on his own and I'm helping him along the way. It's time for the justice system to actually serve justice and not stand on preconceived unsupported notations.

Jerikah Badu writes:

It Boggles me but then again the message is very clear as I visit loved ones in prison as I look around the majority of people of color is is OUR fathers,mothers,uncles,aunts filling those rooms... we got to walk on damn near eggshells in society every day just not to be added into that system we are not allowed to get upset or angry we will be looked at as a monster or thug we all can’t be bad can’t be...that’s a image they painting to society as if we are the problem they killing us off and tearing us away from our family our children.....Enough is Enough Enough is Enough how we allowed them to cage us again like animals such disregard to human life .... Parole should be brought back to give those who put in work to better themselves a second chance those who are rehabilitated to come home... it doesn’t take an average person 30 years to change and do better unless they are mentally ill.. a lot of people do the right things for over a decade come up for parole and denied WHY they are not a threat to society they have proven employment stability completed vocational training treatment programs related to their offense no infractions for years why are they denied parole the parole board has proven to insufficient in many ways they don’t have logical reasons why they can deny someone who has corrected Themselves denying them of a second chance... They claim that what if the person release commit the crime again... First of all there is not a known fact that if you do let the offenders do 85% of their time that they will still come home and not Commit a crime you don’t really know that so why should added time and longer sentences be a factor... it solely depends on the individual and everyone is different if a person is rehabilitated and put in work to become a lawful citizen over a decade no infractions those people need to be release I mean why deny them parole what’s the logic towards that cause prison wasn’t made for to hold inmates mainly for profit gains and treated like cattle basically...prison was made to help rehabilitate those who can not function in society as a law abiding citizen.... that’s what they claim it’s for anyway if not doing it for those reasons than us as the people don’t want it than get rid of prisons all together because you not doing what you said they would do it doing more harm than good why we supporting something that’s ripping men fathers mothers women away from their family children and not even considered a second chance even those on first offenders have double digit sentence I mean almost gone for life no hope for a second chance... but got rapists out here back in society child molesters and we know who they are mostly....people with mental issues and they are released instead of the person who took the time to rehabilitate themselves who really changed MAKE it MAKE SENSE why is our tax dollars spent on this ridiculous system you mangle our family lives and basically make us pay for it as well through tax dollars we as a people should have a say we are paying let OUR PEOPLE GO everyone go who proved to be a law abiding citizen again who changed mentally and learned from their mistakes and just want to be home with their family again their kids.. do it the right way or close your prison doors for good no use for it than because it was not built or voted upon ever to be a housing unit for people of color where you can treat them like animals mass incarceration is at an all time high because they keeping them all in their never releasing them Fun Fact : you can’t arrest and incarcerate us all

Kay S writes:

I hope that this (SB91) and/or (HB1532-earned credit time) is passed. I and many others believe that mistakes were made and parole is one tool to use to determine if a prisoner deserve to be released early. Mistakes are made by everyone (criminal and personal). We hope to get another chance to fix it or wish to do it again. It is the way we learn a lesson. Example is the Governor accused for wear black face. I bet he learned from that mistake. With the recent spotlight on how injustice of sentencing/plea bargains the only way to correct it will be to allow the prisoners a "second chance" to prove themselves. I don't think anyone is asking to just open the doors and allow everyone out. I think the time to get parole should be subject to the crime and repeat offender. Right now, Virginia has taking all opportunity to better themselves. Most training has been discontinued or not offer in all prisons and the responsibility is for the family to pay for prisoner's college. Annual reviews can take the little earned time prisoner do earn away because they have not completed any programs. Parole would give them hope to want to live and give hope that they would be able to live a productive life. Have a family. Create bonds to their existing family. Support and assist love ones. There are so much good that the prisoner can do outside that cannot be done while they are in prison. Parole would give them hope that they can work towards. Currently, they are just waiting out their time because there is nothing else that can be done. The best time of their years...gone. Family relationship fade away and love one passing. When must get out they are old and now moved to government assistance. If they have a life to look forward to they can get out when they can gain mean-fully jobs and life. I would leave with this: Prisoners who doesn't want to earn they freedom...let them stay. But those who do and prove they desire a second chance should be given a chance.