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Sun Gazette: Arlington to have representation on Va. parole task force Print


Created:  Wednesday, July 15, 2015 7:30AM


Two individuals with ties to Arlington are among those appointed by Gov. McAuliffe to a task force that will study issues related to the reinstatement of parole in Virginia.

The governor in June established the commission, which has been directed to report back with preliminary recommendations in November and a final report Dec. 4.

McAuliffe said the panel, which he described as bipartisan in nature, would work to "put political dogma and preconceived notions aside and engage in a thoughtful process."

Leading the group will be a trio of chairs: Former state Attorney General Mark Early, a Republican, and Democrats Brian Moran (Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security) and Levar Stoney (Secretary of the Commonwealth).

Among those on the panel will be Gail Arnall, who departed in June as executive director of Offender Aid and Restoration of Arlington and Alexandria but remains a consultant to the organization, and William Richardson Jr., a retired attorney and member of Virginia Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE).

The Virginia General Assembly abolished parole in the 1990s, meaning offenders must serve at least 85 percent of their sentences before being considered for release due to good behavior.

Any changes to existing state law related to parole would have to win passage in the General Assembly.

"I wouldn't expect any wholesale undoing of current parole policy, but I do believe there are opportunities to take look at what other states are doing to see if we can incorporate some of their best practices," said Del. Patrick Hope. (D-47th).

Hope said the effort would be a good opportunity to examine some of the costs associated with incarceration, especially related to older inmates.

"The governor should be commended for taking a serious look at this issue, and I'm hopeful legislators will keep an open mind to what works," he said.