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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Only 2.7% Parole Releases Under McAuliffe (5% Under Former Governor MacDonnell)

I received two letters last week written by inmates in one of Virginia's prisons who have each been incarcerated for over 25 years and have stellar prison records. Here are some excerpts:

1. "Only 74 folks made parole last year in Virginia out of over 4000 who are eligible, and only 5 in January of this year. Meanwhile Virginia Beach is suing the Department of Corrections for overcrowding due to state-responsible inmates being kept in it's jail for up to seven years when 60 days is the rule. And they are adding 32 beds to this place even though it is already operating at double its capacity." - anonymous inmate 3/15/15

2. "The DOC is a network of asylums, whose keepers include the Governor, the DOC Director, the Secretary of Public Safety and the Parole Board. These keepers have banished thousands of old-law, parole-eligible prisoners (those sentenced prior to July 1, 1995) to asylums where society's undesirables can be conveniently warehoused, even though they have served from twenty to fifty-plus years, and many of them for the rest of their lives because they have no mandatory release dates.

"There is no justification for such lengthy confinement for middle aged and older prisoners. Five in the state are 86-95 years old, 36 are 76 to 85, and 284 are 66 to 75. Few of these are any longer a threat to society, and a much more reasonable option would be for them to be with their families, with appropriate monitoring as needed.

"Published studies have demonstrated that educating and providing job skills to inmates can greatly reduce recidivism and is by far the most cost-effective solution for taxpayers. In his State of the Commonwealth address in January, Governor McAuliffe stated that he believed in giving offenders a second chance and that he would discontinue ALL appropriations that wasted taxpayer dollars, so one obvious are to consider would be reducing the staggering cost of incarceration in Virginia, over $1 billion a year, or $26,000 to $100,000 per year per inmate, depending on such factors as age and medical conditions."   - anonymous inmate 3/22/15

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