Criminal Justice Reform



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 must:

  • 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 trainings on cultural sensitivity and interactions with individuals experiencing a mental health crisis would greatly benefit heavily policed communities and improve crime rates.

Resources: Mass Incarceration

Contact Melqui Fernandez at [email protected]  to get involved!





get updates