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Virginia Governor's Commission on Parole Abolition and Sentencing Reform

NCJ Number
Date Published
86 pages
The commission established in 1994 to examine parole and sentencing in Virginia recommends abolishing parole, adopting truth-in-sentencing, dramatically increasing the prison time served by violent and repeat offenders, and providing more cost-effective and productive settings for nonviolent offenders.
The commission's members included crime victims, law enforcement personnel, judges, prosecutors, business and civic leaders, State and local government officials, and other concerned citizens. The commission held public hearings around the State, analyzed statistical data and technical information, conducted site visits to correctional facilities and programs, and gathered suggestions from judges and prosecutors. The analysis revealed that the violent crime rate has increased by 28 percent in Virginia in the last 5 years. Three of every four violent crimes is committed by a repeat offender. Therefore, parole should be eliminated and replaced with truth-in-sentencing. In addition, guideline sentences should be increased by 100 percent for violent first-time offenders, by 300-700 percent for violent offenders with a prior conviction for violent crime, and by 300-500 percent for nonviolent offenders with a prior conviction for violent crime. Low-risk nonviolent offenders should be housed in low-cost work centers, where they will engage in farming and light industry. The cost of new prison construction should be reduced through privatization, the use of inmate labor, the construction of work centers for nonviolent criminals, double-celling and double-bunking of existing and planned facilities, and other innovations. Additional recommendations, figures, photographs, and appended background information and list of commission members and staff