The General Assembly is coming up and there’s some bills that could help undo the system that allow people to get over-sentenced, over-charged and end up doing WAY too much time. The bill itself should also allow for people to get reconsidered for shorter sentences – which could help our loved ones come home sooner.
Below is an email you can send to your legislators by the end of the week. Just replace the greeting with the person you’re writing, and change your signature. Feel free to add anything you wish!
If you need to find your legislator’s emails, use this site: https://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov
Subject: 2021 GA – End Mandatory Minimums in Virginia
Dear/Hi/Good Morning Delegate/Senator (Insert Your Legislator Here),
Hope you’re well. As a consistent of your district and ahead of the general assembly, I wanted to reach out and inform you about legislation that is important to me for 2021.
While there has been a lot of great strides in criminal justice in Virginia for the past year, we cannot lose momentum in the fight against mass incarceration. To continue having a more fair and equitable criminal justice system, mandatory minimums in Virginia must end. In addition, the updated policy must allow those already sentenced and serving time behind bars receive reconsideration for excessive sentences. Having mandatory minimums in the Virginia laws do not allow judges or juries to do their jobs by hearing cases and facts, as they do not have the power to go against Virginia laws of time that MUST be served if convicted of specific crimes.
For more context, mandatory minimums don’t reduce crime rates, they don’t reduce recidivism rates, they don’t make the court process more efficient, they aren’t better for victims, and they don’t manage to hold people accountable for the crimes they actually committed. All they do is coerce defendants to plead guilty—including those who are innocent—and prevent judges from being fair in circumstances when fairness is warranted. This policy update is supported by 40% of the state’s prosecutors, and many justice organizations in Virginia.
Please support these issues in the General Assembly this month, and allowing those who have been impacted by the unjust systems in place to have a second chance to reconsider unfair sentences in progress.
Thank you, and please feel free to reach out with questions.
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