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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Some Questions For Local Candidates

Harrisonburg/Rockingham Regional Jail
"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for rulers and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
I Timothy 2:1-2 (emphases mine)

While not a member of any political party, I would really like to know where local candidates stand on the following:

Questions for Mr. Bryan Hutcheson, Sheriff (running unopposed):

1. Do you favor discontinuing the use of the restraint chair and/or the isolated padded cell for suicidally depressed and mentally ill inmates at our local jail (a total of 32 times for the first six months of 2015 alone)? (most area jails have no isolated padded cell, and Middle River Regional Jail, we are told, uses the restraint chair very rarely, and only for incorrigible inmates)

2. 
Would you consider following the practice of other local and regional jails and not have inmates in handcuffs when meeting with their families (in the totally secure visitor area separated by glass and concrete) or when they are moved to and from approved classes or other groups?

3. Would you be willing to phase out the use of orange or red striped jail garb in favor of denims and cotton shirts such as are commonly worn in state prisons?

4. Would you support reducing the cost of phone service and commissary items that add a financial burden to the families of inmates, along with the $1 per day "rent" cost generally borne by inmate families?

5. Would you support allowing qualified volunteers provide emergency mental health services and offer more GED or other educational programs for interested inmates?


Questions for Ms. April Moore, Mr. Mark Obenshain, State Senate candidates,
 Tony Wilt, House of Delegates candidate (unopposed),
Ms. Marsha Garst, Commonwealth's Attorney (unopposed) and (for items 1-5), Board of Supervisors candidates Michael Breeden, Fred Eberly, and Michael Breeden:

1. Do you support a more active oversight role by the local Community Criminal Justice Board as recommended by the Moseley Architect's Community Corrections Plan in its December, 2014 report? 

2. Are you in favor of the CCJB carefully considering the recommendations made for reducing incarceration that are in the above Community Corrections Plan as adopted by City Council, the Board of Supervisors and the CCJB in December, 2014?

3. Do you support ongoing funding for re-entry and rehabilitation programs like the Harrisonburg Diversion Center, and Gemeinschaft Home (Rockingham County)?

4. Do you support automatic bail bond for offenders who are gainfully employed (and/or a full time student) except in extreme cases of their being an immediate threat to community safety?

5. Would you support legislation banning the use of the restraint chair and the isolated padded cell for mentally ill and suicidally depressed inmates in our jails?

6. Do you support recent proposals to restore voting rights to rehabilitated offenders?

7. Do you support greater utilization of Virginia’s Geriatric Parole Statute (Code § 53.1-40.01) as a way of reducing the growing cost of health care for aging inmates who no longer pose any danger to society?

8. Do you favor reinstating some form of parole in Virginia and offering reduced time for inmates who utilize every opportunity to rehabilitate themselves in prison and prepare for effective reentry?

9. Would you support all inmates being supplied with the ID they need to be able to apply for jobs, driver's licenses, etc., upon release?


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Address your own questions and concerns to:

Bryan Hutcheson bhutcheson@rockinghamcountyva.gov
April Moore april@shentel.net

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