CRIMINAL JUSTICE + POLICING

COMMENTARY

Virginia abolished biased, inefficient, botched executions; more states should follow suit

BY: - January 4, 2023

By Dale Brumfield On Dec. 13, just as horrifying images from Iran emerged showing condemned protestors hanged publicly on street-corner construction cranes, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown followed Virginia’s lead and commuted the death sentences of 17 inmates to life imprisonment and dismantled that state’s death chamber. It is gratifying to see another state break away […]

COMMENTARY

A murderous pedophile got a badge and gun in Virginia. How was that possible?

BY: - December 19, 2022

A Virginia man drove the width of the United States, kidnapped a 15-year-old girl, shot her mother and grandparents dead in cold blood, torched their home and then killed himself in a shootout with California police. The gun he used came with the badge he wore back in Virginia. So many questions. And to date, […]

Virginia State Police won’t release job records of ex-trooper who killed 3 in California

BY: - December 8, 2022

Virginia State Police acknowledged “human error” caused them to miss a violent incident in the past of a former state trooper who killed three people in California last month, but the agency is refusing to release 247 pages of personnel records that could shed more light on his time as a state employee. The Virginia […]

COMMENTARY
A parking lot outside a UVA dorm was filled with hundreds of state police cruisers on Wednesday afternoon. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury - Aug. 8, 2018)

Take no shortcuts in boosting police agencies to full strength  

BY: - December 8, 2022

Consider all the ways police departments around Virginia are working to fill vacancies in their ranks:  Offering signing bonuses. Boosting salaries. Attending military, community and college career fairs. Making it simpler for service members to transition from their military branch to patrol cars. Hyping careers in law enforcement on social media platforms. Recruiting outside their […]

Report on Virginia jail fees hindered by spotty data, redacted contracts

BY: - December 7, 2022

A Virginia work group that was supposed to be exploring ways to reduce fees charged to inmates for phone calls, emails, food and clothing ended with reformers accusing jail officials of stonewalling legislative oversight and jail administrators denouncing what they described as a skewed, activist-driven process. A report the work group released this week said […]

COMMENTARY

Guns, not mental illness, at heart of America’s terror 

BY: - November 30, 2022

Researchers and policymakers know the ways to reduce gun violence and needless murders across the country. They include disarming domestic abusers, banning so-called “weapons of war” that allow attackers to keep firing without reloading and requiring background checks for all gun sales.    Studies and reporting from The Washington Post, the Center for American Progress and […]

Albemarle court rejects earned sentence credit challenge 

BY: - November 22, 2022

After an Albemarle judge struck down from the bench a challenge to the General Assembly’s last-minute change to a program that granted early release for state inmates with a record of good behavior, the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia said it plans to appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court.  “You have to […]

COMMENTARY

It’s important to know everything that led to slayings of UVA football players

BY: - November 18, 2022

This isn’t another anti-gun tirade, though I have every reason and urge to launch into one after Sunday’s cold-blooded killings of three University of Virginia football players. Suffice it to say more convincing voices than mine have made those arguments better and more abundantly than I ever could, sadly to little discernible effect. Guns still […]

FBI confirms a single juvenile suspect behind most bomb threats to dozens of HBCUs

BY: - November 15, 2022

WASHINGTON — The FBI has officially announced that a single minor youth is the main suspect in most racially motivated bomb threats to dozens of historically Black colleges and universities earlier this year that terrorized students. The FBI in a statement on Monday did not release any further details — only that the individual is […]

COMMENTARY

A mother’s grief spurred advocacy against gun violence. Will others listen?

BY: - October 27, 2022

When Candace Blue became part of the club no parent wants to join, she faced a stark choice:  Totally shut down following the shooting death of her only child, 25-year-old Namel Prince Augustine.  Or transform that mindless violence on a Chesapeake sidewalk in 2018, so that parents and siblings confronting similar circumstances could find support […]

Costs of incarceration rise as inflation squeezes inmates, families

BY: - October 14, 2022

Across the nation, prison commissaries are raising prices on items that many consider basic necessities — from deodorant to fresh fruit — not provided by the state department of corrections. The markups come as decades-high inflation is also squeezing inmates’ families, making it harder for them to help.  It’s a burden that families shouldn’t have […]

Biden to pardon all federal offenses for simple marijuana possession, review criminalization

BY: , and - October 6, 2022

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Thursday announced executive actions that would pardon thousands of people with prior federal offenses of simple marijuana possession. Biden then called on governors to follow suit with state offenses for simple marijuana possession, saying that “just as no one should be in a federal prison solely due to the possession of marijuana, […]