Offenders under 21 years of age; parole. (SB109)

Introduced By

Sen. Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond) with support from co-patron Sen. Jennifer Boysko (D-Herndon)

Progress

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

Description

Offenders under 21 years of age; parole. Provides that any person sentenced to a term of life imprisonment for a single felony offense or multiple felony offenses committed while that person was under 21 years of age and who has served at least 20 years of such sentence and any person who has active sentences that total more than 20 years for a single felony offense or multiple felony offenses committed while that person was under 21 years of age and who has served at least 20 years of such sentences shall be eligible for parole. Under current law, such parole provisions apply only to juvenile offenders. Read the Bill »

Outcome

Bill Has Failed

History

DateAction
01/06/2022Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/12/22 22101929D
01/06/2022Referred to Committee on the Judiciary
01/17/2022Reported from Judiciary (8-Y 7-N) (see vote tally)
01/18/2022Constitutional reading dispensed (37-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/19/2022Impact statement from DPB (SB109)
01/19/2022Read second time
01/19/2022Engrossed by Senate (21-Y 19-N) (see vote tally)
01/20/2022Read third time and defeated by Senate (19-Y 21-N) (see vote tally)

Comments

Fred Woehrle writes:

Morrissey's bill would allow violent criminals to be paroled after as little as a fourth of their sentence. And this bill would apply to a lot of violent criminals, because violent crime is disproportionately committed by people under age 21. As one source notes, "By releasing youthful violent criminals earlier, Morrissey’s bills could result in more killings of innocent people. Murder rates peak in the late teens and early 20s. About four in ten killers commit their crime before age 25. A tenth of all murders have historically been committed by juveniles, and, once released, juvenile killers often commit more violent crimes, including more murders." See "Morrissey Proposes Extending Parole to Most Violent Offenders," Bacon's Rebellion, Jan. 10, 2020.

It's unwise to let violent criminals out of prison when they've served as little as one-fourth of their sentence. Yet that is what this bill would do. As the cited article notes, "Restoring parole could result in Virginia having a high crime rate like neighboring Maryland, which has parole. Maryland has a violent crime rate more than double Virginia’s. In 2018, Maryland had a violent crime rate of 468.7 per 100,000 people, according to USA Today, compared to a violent crime rate of only 200 per 100,000 in Virginia. Forty years ago, Virginia’s Fairfax County had a similar crime rate to Montgomery County, Md., which is demographically and economically similar. But that changed after prison sentences became longer in Virginia, and Virginia eliminated parole. Fairfax County ended up with a much lower crime rate than Montgomery County."

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