Tuesday, October 11, 2016

There Ought To Be A Law

Virginia State Capitol (photo by Wilipedia)
One of my Virginia inmate friends came up with the following list of proposed bills he's like to see enacted by the Virginia General Assembly. Which of these do you feel deserve a hearing? 

1 - (EDUCATION) - Create and distribute annually to seventh thru twelfth graders in public schools a summary of state laws that can lead to criminal convictions, along with the maximum sentence for each.

2 - (EDUCATION) - Mandate Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) to ensure that every inmate is educated in basic math, reading and spelling until their GED has been successfully achieved, along with personal financial management, basic computer skills, job resumes and other work related skills, plus any treatment throughout their incarceration that would prepare inmates to successfully return to society.

3 - (HUMANE TREATMENT) - Mandate that all jails and prisons be humanely temperature controlled throughout the year.

4 - (HUMANE TREATMENT) - Mandate that every inmate is issued at least one free roll of toilet tissue and at least one bar of anti-bacterial soap weekly.

5 - (OFFENSES) - Require every sexual related crime or offense within a jail or prison to be reported to Virginia State Police within 24-hours of learning that such a crime has been committed.

6 - (OFFENSES) - Mandate a minimum 5-year sentence for every inmate found guilty of a felony while incarcerated, or arrange for such inmates to be housed in a step-down facility. 

7 - (PAROLE) - Grant immediate parole release to inmates sentenced under the parole laws prior to the Truth-in-Sentencing (TIS) in 1995 who were juveniles when incarcerated and who have been incarcerated for at least twenty years, subject to an evaluation to assure they are no longer a threat to society. 

8 - (PSYCHOLOGICAL) - Require a study to be completed on the long-term social and psychological effects of incarceration on inmates kept idle in jails and/or prisons for long periods of time.

9 - (REENTRY) - Make it a crime for a business owner found guilty of not hiring an individual solely because they are ex-inmates.

10 - (SENTENCING) - Abolish the death sentence in Virginia.

11 - (SENTENCING) - Abolish life sentences for juveniles.

12 - (SENTENCING) - Sentence individuals based on the current life expectancy of their race and gender.

13 - (SENTENCING) - Place a cap on sentences, and not allow a total combined sentence of over 40 years.

14 - (SENTENCING) - Mandate that every individual arrested for a felony be administered an IQ examination from an independent qualified mental health professional before allowing them to enter into a contract or plea bargain agreement, including but not limited to an Alford Plea.

15 - (SENTENCING) - Create an Independent Review Board with an investigator to review all statewide claims of innocence from incarcerated individuals.

16 - (TRANSPORTATION) - Require that when inmates are  transported to and from a destination that they be exposed to public view as little as possible, with proper safeguards to protect them from insult, curiosity and publicity in any form. The transportation of inmates in conveyances with inadequate ventilation or light, or in any way that would subject them to unnecessary physical hardship, should be prohibited. Enhancements made to security vehicles allowing inmates to be locked inside a full metal cage and again locked on the outside of the transport vehicle should be prohibited.

17 - (TREATMENT) - Ensure that all State responsible Inmates are relocated to Reception and Receiving Centers within 90 working days after the inmate's final sentencing order has been received by VDOC.

18 - (VCE) - Require that all state agencies purchase products and services offered by a Virginia Correctional Enterprises (VCE) whenever possible.

19 - (SENTENCING) - Restore the sixty-five percent Parole Eligibility (PE) Law and change the Truth-in-Sentencing (TIS) Law for all inmates.

20 - (WORK) - Provide compensation for inmate workers who that have been injured while working in a state correctional facility.

21 - (COMMISSARY) - Provide commissary items to inmates at affordable prices, and mandate that commissaries be operated by state employees with inmate workers rather than  by outside for-profit enterprises

22 - (CO-PAY) - Repeal laws that allow the DOC to withdraw money from inmate accounts as co-pay for dental and medical services that should be provided by the state.

23 - (RETIREMENT) - Provide retirement funds to be deducted from inmate pay or have a portion go into the Social Security system for the benefit of inmates and their families when they are no longer able to work.

24 - (INDUSTRIES) - Provide a long overdue increase in pay for inmate workers, to at least the following levels:
Skilled Lead Positions - $1.20 per hour
Skilled Assistant Lead Positions - $1.15
Skilled Workers - $1.00
Semi-skilled workers - $0.90
Unskilled workers - $0.80

25 - (SENIOR CITIZENS) - Suspend personal property taxes for all senior citizens.

Here's a link to contact Governor McAuliffe on any of the above concerns: 

Here are email addresses for our local state legislators:

Delegate Tony Wilt

Senator Mark Obenshain
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