Virginia Sentencing Reform

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This petition is in advocacy of passing Senate Bill 1532 and Senate Bill 91. Mass incarceration has plagued Virginia for decades and one of the reasons it stays like that is the way people have to do their time. Parole was abolished in this state two and a half decades ago and when sentenced, people are expected to do 85% of their time. That percentage is with their good behavior time included. Doing 85% of one's time without any possibility of parole ensures a person stays incarcerated, no matter how many programs they complete or how much good behavior they exhibit.
Having our men and women incarcerated for such lengthy amounts of time wreaks havoc on the very foundation of our society. The family. Children without mothers and fathers. Nephews and nieces without aunts and uncles. Brothers without sisters and wives without husbands. Missed birthdays, missed graduations, having to struggle through everyday life without a spouse and just the absence of the presence and influence of a loved one is corrosive to the family structure. So many people have loved ones who are incarcerated that are missed dearly and who've likely been in prison for a long time or have a long stay ahead. Being involved in the life of a prisoner, you're basically doing their time alongside them. So many know the pain of having to leave a loved one behind after a visit and put hundreds of miles between them while they are led back to a concrete and steel cage. This petition is our chance to help fix that. This is our chance to really show how much we miss, believe in and love those behind that wall.
Two bills were introduced this year in the January Congressional Session. SB 1532 changes the way people earn good time to the point where they could go from doing 85% of their time to doing 65%. SB 91 brings back parole. Both of these bills are very significant to the change we seek. They will bring so many loved ones home so much faster. This petition is us saying we want those two particular bills passed. These bills will bring hope and relief to countless families in a myriad of ways. These bills can give hope, incentive, motivation and second chances to so many who otherwise may not have those things. Our loved ones need us to be there for them as much as we need them to be home for us. If our law enforcement, our lawmakers and everyone else involved in the system truly believe that it works, then why not release and give a chance to those who've been through it? It is the plea of the people that SB 1532 and SB 91 be passed. Thank you.