Early Test for New Virginia Gov. on Sentencing Reform

Virginia’s new Governor, Glen Youngkin, was sworn in Saturday and immediately announced eleven executive orders to fulfill promises he made during his campaign last year.  One of them was to terminate the members of the criminal-coddeling state Parole Board.  Youngkin also appointed former U.S. Attorney Richard Cullen as Councelor to the Governor.  Cullen was Vice-Chairman on a 1994 commission under Governor Richard Allen which recommended the elimination of parole and tougher sentencing.  Governor Youngkin’s commitment to reducing crime will face an early test from two bills introduced in Virginia’s divided legislature last week.  Hans Bader of Liberty Unyielding  reports that HB 906 and SB 378 would create the “second look” law, giving judges the authority to cut a violent criminal’s sentence by 10 to 15 years, even for life-sentenced murderers.

“The Virginia bill would let inmates who have committed even the most violent crimes such as murder seek release after ten years in prison if they committed the crime before age 25, or after 15 years in prison if they committed their crime after turning 25.”

This kind of policy has been in operation in neighboring Maryland for years, undoubtedly contributing to its rate of violent crime which is more than twice the rate of Virginia’s.

“The “second look” bill would gut Virginia’s tough sentences, allowing sentences to be shortened from 40 years or more for a murder down to 10 or 15 years. Virginia’s lengthy sentences have paid off in its low crime rate, which makes it one of America’s safest states. Virginia has a violent crime rate that is only half the national average. It has the lowest violent crime rate in the entire southeastern United States, and a lower violent crime rate than all neighboring states, especially Maryland, North Carolina, and Tennessee.”

California, Illinois and Pennsylvania have engaged in similar “reforms” to eliminate the so-called overincarceration of minority offenders with disastrous results.  People living these state’s largest cities (Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia) are experiencing historic increases in violent crime, particularly shootings and murders.  Most of those being assaulted and killed are black.  Most of the criminals committing these crimes are other blacks. To the politicians ruling these cities, addressing the specter of “white supremacy” is a much higher priority than confronting the reality that a wildly disproportionate number of black men, women and children are being slaughtered on a daily basis by criminals left on the streets by their policies.

While the Virginia bills have bi-partisan support, Bader notes a similar bill was rejected with both Democrat and Republican votes last year.  Governor Youngkin should take the opportunity to target these “second look” bills for defeat, sending the message that the state of Virginia places a higher value on innocent black lives than it’s progressive neighbors.

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