State LWV Position Statement on Corrections: The League believes that corrections systems at all levels in the Commonwealth – state, regional and local – should include deterrence, re-entry, restitution, and diversion, programs, including community-based alternative and probation programs. The League believes that the Commonwealth and local communities should educate the public to the merits and needs of alternatives to incarceration, the financing and other needs of local jails, and the use of trained community volunteers.
Local LWVFRA Plan: To research, prepare, and develop a partnership presentation to the public (target Spring 2023 in time for elections under the new district boundaries). We will examine the issues facing our regional justice system and the array of people in decision-making roles, from the officer on the streets, through magistrates, judges, prosecuting and defense attorneys, legislated crimes and sentences, the local prison authorities, and the parole boards. Key issues will be identified and explored with stakeholders who will be key in preparing a forum for League members and the general public.
Related issues that may be explored include public access to information (e.g. the RRJ Board meeting minutes), use of cash bail and alternatives, legislated cap on salaries of defense attorneys for the indigent, use of “solitary confinement,” health care and constructive programming, and recently passed state legislation that allows the creation of civilian oversight boards with more authority than current citizen advisory groups.
Further Background and Framework: For example, our local jails receive oversight from the Virginia Board of Local and Regional Jails and is made up of nine members who are appointed by the Governor and subject to confirmation by the general assembly. The role of the board is to establish standards and guidelines for local and regional jails that are designed to guarantee the health, safety, and welfare of staff and offenders under its jurisdiction. More info at https://bolrj.virginia.gov/.
Responsibilities of the VA Board of Local and Regional Jails (the one chosen below that LWVFRA can use as a framework). In accordance with Title 53.1, Chapter 1 of the Code of Virginia, the Board of Local and Regional Jails will assume the following responsibilities and duties:
Public Outreach: The Board helps to develop programs that educate citizens and bring about public support for the activities of the Virginia Department of Corrections. (As do many other entities and boards related to the justice system.)
If you are interested in helping out with this effort, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.