CRIMINAL JUSTICE + POLICING

Legislation to abolish the death penalty in Virginia cleared its first legislative hurdle Monday, passing out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on 10-4 vote, with nine Democrats and one Republican supporting the measure.Supporters of the bill, which include Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration and an array of faith leaders, argued...
A proposal to bring Virginia’s only privately operated prison under state management failed in the General Assembly on Friday when it was voted down by members of the Senate’s Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee.The decision means GEO Group, a publicly traded corporation based in Florida, will likely continue to...
Retail sales of recreational marijuana would begin in Virginia on Jan. 1, 2023, under legislation authored by Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration, which in addition to ending the state’s prohibition on the drug would expunge many past criminal convictions and create a state fund to help people arrested for marijuana...
As the General Assembly reconvenes this week, Virginia Democrats are continuing a push to reform the state’s criminal justice system that began last year amid widespread social unrest.The effort during a special legislative session culminated in November with the passage of a slate of laws that empowered civilian oversight...
Public health officials in Virginia plan to begin offering COVID-19 vaccinations to inmates in state prisons and local jails when they begin the next phase of their rollout plan, according to a schedule released this week.“I’m hoping it’s in days, not months,” said Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran....
Members of the Virginia Crime Commission voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to endorse legislation stripping all mandatory minimum sentences from state code.The sweeping proposal, which lawmakers plan to introduce when the General Assembly convenes later this month, would eliminate mandatory jail and prison terms attached to 224 offenses that range from...
Attorney General Mark Herring announced Tuesday he’s creating an Office of Civil Rights dedicated to investigating allegations of discrimination in policing, housing and employment.“The Office of Civil Rights will enhance our ability to protect Virginians from discrimination in housing, employment and public life, as well as allow us to...
No new law regulating police confrontations with the mentally ill probably will comfort Princess Blanding. After all, a Richmond police officer gunned down her brother as he was undergoing a crisis two years ago — after he’d struck other cars while driving; fled his own vehicle while naked; and...
The National Lawyers Guild is urging Virginia officials to prioritize vaccination efforts in Virginia prisons, where COVID-19 cases are at their highest numbers since the pandemic began.“The detained population, whether in our jails, prisons, ICE detention centers or those held in the Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation, have no...
All four Democrats running for governor in Virginia say they support abolishing the death penalty, including one candidate, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who allowed several executions to proceed during his term.While in office, McAuliffe said he personally opposed capital punishment, but felt obligated to uphold state law. The three...