Wednesday, May 25, 2016

You Can Join The Valley Justice Coalition

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"The Valley Justice Coalition is made up of residents of Rockingham County, the City of Harrisonburg and adjacent areas who are concerned about justice reforms in our community and in the commonwealth."

Vision:  A community engaged in reducing incarceration and recidivism.

Mission: To use a combination of public education, policy advocacy, coalition building, and grass roots organizing and mobilization to promote such reforms.

General Goals:
A. To actively promote changes in policies and practices that currently contribute to over-incarceration.

B. To encourage the implementation of justice reinvestment, restorative justice and other alternative programs.

C. To promote humane treatment and a more family friendly environment for those currently affected by incarceration.

D. To promote best practices that reduce recidivism.

E. To support community programs that help reintegrate those affected by incarceration.

Action Steps:

1. The Valley Justice Coalition endorses the general recommendations stated in the Criminal Justice Facts Statement and suggested by the Sentencing Project:

a) Eliminating mandatory minimum sentences and cutting back on excessively lengthy sentences.

b) Shifting resources to community-based prevention and treatment for substance abuse.

c) Investing in interventions that promote strong youth development and respond to delinquency in age-appropriate and evidence-based ways.

d) Examining and addressing the policies and practices that contribute to racial inequity at every level of the justice system.

e) Removing barriers that make it harder for individuals with criminal records to make a successful reentry.

f) To advocate for national accreditation for all local jails and for Virginia prisons.

2. VJC will also advocate for the implementation of rational policies and evidence-based practices, while supporting numerous nationally recognized correctional options such as:

a) Strengthening re-entry services

b) Expanding mental health treatment

c) Expanding substance abuse treatment

d) Investigating ways to reduce intake numbers

e) Generating reliable planning data

f) Investigating pre-trial confinement policies and practices

g) Increasing pre-trial and probation staff

h) Implementing community based sanctions and programs

i) Expanding the day-reporting program

j) Increasing system coordination, goal setting, and oversight

k) Improving assessment and diagnostic processes for offenders

l) Identifying alternatives to incarceration for non-compliant probationers

m) Expanding the application of Community Service for non-violent offenders

n) Encouraging increased involvement of the Judiciary in developing criminal justice solutions.

This group has an open meeting every Monday noon at the Dean House, which is across Water Street from Community Mennonite Church (on Tuesday this week because of Memorial Day). To be on a general mailing list and to show your support of the above, click on Contact on the VJC website, write "subscribe" in the subject line, and provide your name and email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.
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