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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Bold Statement By Fairfield Center On Jail Expansion Issue

165 South Main Street • Suite A • Harrisonburg, Virginia 22801 Phone (540) 434-0059

WHEREAS Harrisonburg and Rockingham County have contracted with Richmond-based Moseley Architects to conduct a community-based corrections study and facility planning study that must examine current trends and future projections relative to jail population, as well as consider possible alternative programs and overall facility needs; and

WHEREAS the Fairfield Center and other area organizations and community groups currently plan for the expansion of existing and the establishment of new programs designed to divert misdemeanant and felon defendants and offenders detained in jail awaiting trial or actively serving sentences; and

WHEREAS the Community-Based Corrections Plan must, at a minimum, include: ... a description of the proposed services, staff and other resources necessary to implement expanded or new [alternative] programs; and

WHEREAS advantages of such alternatives have been proven to be more effective and require less tax dollars than detention; and

WHEREAS through a number of independent efforts, many community members and leaders have met to discuss advantages and options of alternative measures; and

WHEREAS the Department of Criminal Justice Services offers assistance concerning the development of alternative programs; and

WHEREAS the Fairfield Center, based on its mission, advocates for broad stakeholder involvement in important community decisions;

NOW, THEREFORE, the natural progression of these developments leads Fairfield to the next step of inviting you to a formal conversation on November 6, 2014, at Community Mennonite Church, 70 South High Street, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., about what expanded and new programs, as alternatives to incarceration, should be included in any community-based corrections plan.

Goals for the Meeting:  

Participants in this facilitated meeting will...
  • Become more informed and engaged in current criminal justice matters locally;
  • Review 6VAC15-80-110 for clarity on what a comprehensive Community-Based Corrections Plan must include;
  • Identify alternatives to incarceration – pretrial detention and post-disposition punishment:
    • Develop an up-to-date list of existing community resources;
    • Begin to identify the need for and resources necessary to expand existing and establish new pretrial detention and post-disposition punishment alternatives, and for additional resources necessary to improve criminal justice caseload and jail population management;
  • Suggest the necessary components (stakeholders, process-structures, and timelines) for appropriate criminal justice decisions in Harrisonburg-Rockingham County; and,
  • Provide a written summary to the Community Criminal Justice Board in advance of their meeting.
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  • Here's a link to an online petition you can sign appealing for extending the time and expanding the stakeholders involved in coming up with the state-mandated Community-based Correction Plan required for applying for state funds (It is not the same as the one I circulated earlier asking for an additional year of time). Do not sign this one if you have already done so on a hard copy, but please urge others to sign on.
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