People of color are grossly over-represented in the criminal justice system in Virginia. People should be able to learn from their mistakes and move forward with healthy, productive lives and have a fair opportunity to succeed. Lack of opportunities such as employment, education, transportation and housing along with concentrated poverty in deliberately confined neighborhoods help create the cycles of incarceration.
We fight to:
Raise the felony larceny threshold from $200.
- Virginia’s felony threshold has not been raised since 1980 and is one of the lowest in the country. When a punishment does not fit the crime, that is not justice that injustice. Too many individuals in Virginia are convicted of felonies for relatively minor offenses. This is a problem that cost Virginians integrity and money.
Address mental health and substance abuse in the incarcerated population.
- Over half of those incarcerated experience some type of mental health problem. Seventy percent have a history of substance abuse and 65 percent abuse alcohol. Of Virginia’s incarcerated who meet the criteria for a serious mental illness, 76 percent are locked-up for a felony offense.
Train law enforcement.
- Many members of law enforcement that work in majority black communities are white. Providing regular and consistent training on cultural sensitivity and interactions with individuals experiencing a mental health crisis would greatly benefit heavily policed communities and improve crime rates.