Recently Governor McAuliffe wrote an Executive Order for an independent Commission to look at the last 20 years since Governor Allen abolished parole (Truth-in-Sentencing). The Governor elaborated in a follow-up radio appearance, “It’s time to review whether that makes sense. Is it keeping our citizens safe? Is it a reasonable, good, cost-effective way? Are we rehabilitating folks?” he said. “Are sentences too long for nonviolent offenses? Are we keeping people in prison too long?”. All great questions!
But almost immediately some State lawmakers spun the Governor’s order into a fear-mongering, the sky-is-falling, political party issue.
A program that originally claimed it would protect society better has turned 20 years old, we owe it to our citizens to study that 20 years of data to see if the program actually has done what was promised, to see if it is cost effective, to see if justice is in fact being served and to see if reforms are needed.