CRIMINAL JUSTICE + POLICING

Republican lawmakers shot down a bill Thursday challenging a program that pays Virginia prison inmates about 80 cents an hour to manufacture furniture for state offices, including at the Capitol and General Assembly Building.Del. Emily Brewer, R-Smithfield, said she had toured those inmate-staffed factories and said the workers, incarcerated...
Republicans in the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates have voted down the full suite of gun control measures endorsed by Gov. Ralph Northam, including a “red flag” law backed by President Donald Trump’s administration.The law, which is a recommendation of Trump’s post-Parkland school safety commission, would allow police...
Women wearing tampons are still being denied full visitation privileges at some Virginia prisons, Department of Corrections officials told lawmakers Thursday.The department announced in September that women wearing tampons would either be strip-searched or turned away from visitations as part of a bid to crack down on contraband like...
Virginia prison officials say they’re on the leading edge of corrections reform for “operating without the use of solitary confinement.”But Derek Cornelison, a 34-year-old inmate at Red Onion, one of the state’s two supermax prisons in Wise County, says he and dozens of other prisoners have remained isolated in...
By Katja Timm/ Capital News ServiceFor now, Virginia will remain among a trio of states — joining only Kentucky and Iowa — with a lifetime ban on voting rights for people convicted of a felony.On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections killed an attempt to allow Virginians who...
Gov. Ralph Northam is proposing decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana during his State of the Commonwealth address Wednesday night:We want to keep people safe. But we shouldn’t use valuable law enforcement time, or costly prison space, on laws that don’t enhance public safety.So I’m proposing that we...
Alexandria Commonwealth's Attorney Bryan Porter says he's going to stop asking judges to set cash bail in misdemeanor cases, joining prosecutors in Richmond, Chesterfield and Arlington and a judge in Fairfax who have announced similar steps.Instead, Porter told The Washington Post that "prosecutors in his office will instead suggest...
In early 1987, I was assigned the city cops and courts beat at The Richmond News Leader. My tenure on that beat coincided with the rapid increase in the city’s murder rate, which at one point was the second highest in the country.It was a horrible time in...
Powhatan County Sheriff Brad Nunnally says his investigators got curious after seeing CBD — or cannabidiol —  products for sale in county convenience stores. So they bought some and got them tested by the state lab. The results?The Virginia State Lab determined one of the products, sold as "hemp flower,"...
Our news partners at NBC 12 report that a jury has recommended a life sentence for James Fields for the first-degree murder of Heather Heyer plus more than 400 years for other counts stemming from the Aug. 12, 2017 attack at the 'Unite the Right' rally.Last week, a jury...