Public Comments for: HB906 - Petition for modification of sentence; eligibility, procedures.
Last Name: Belton Organization: Sistas in Prison Reform Locality: Brockton

As a participant in the development of this bill, we ask that you move this bil forward. This bill is for individuals who have rehabilitated themselves and who have show worthy of a second chance through hard work. Corrections wasn't meant for housing people forever. Corrections was meant for correcting behaviors, acknowledging the work and returning people back to society. HB906 is not a guarantee for individuals buy a chance for life again from behind the walls. Vote for HB906

Last Name: Parker Locality: Troutville

I am in Favor of HB906 and SB378. My husband was an innocent victim of a violent crime, he was murdered in July of last year. I read this bill and the supporting documentation and I understand that people change. This bill does not put the power in a parole board, instead it sends the case to the originating court. We should trust in our courts and our judges to make decisions based on the individuals rehabilitation and record. We trusted the court to hand out the original sentence, why would we not trust in them now? The criteria that has to be met for those incarcerated is fair, it also is not a guaranteed release, it gives the courts options. It is not a blanket law. This law because of the behavior qualifications, provides motivation for good behavior and completion of programs, for those without extra earned sentence credits. This is vital to releasing better humans back into society, without it we release people eventually after having no hope and no motivation to change. Please vote yes to these bills and let the judges see who has changed and who hasn't. If I can feel confident in this bill and my courts, anyone can.

Last Name: Taylor Locality: Alexandria

I OPPOSE HB 906 and SB 378, like most of the commenters below. It could reduce the sentences of criminals who don't deserve to have their sentences reduced (just because they got 10 years or more in prison for killing a bunch of people, then mostly behaved while in prison), while doing nothing for non-violent offenders who got sentences that were disproportionate to their offense, but less than 10 years (like people in prison for 5 years for growing pot, or the woman who was imprisoned for 2 years for providing alcohol at her son's 16th birthday party, according to a 2007 story in the Washington Post). As commenter Pack points out, the fact that an inmate behaves & "rehabilitates" doesn't mean he won't kill again. Kenneth McDuff killed three people after he was paroled at 19, then killed as many as 15 women after he was paroled a second time. Like many inmates, he behaved in prison, but not after he was released. Letting inmates out early will increase violence by deterring fewer crimes. Per the article commenter Clegg cites, research shows longer sentences deter crimes better than short sentences. And if sentences are cut too much, the recidivism rate may also rise. For example, recidivism rose in New York after juvenile offenders were no longer prosecuted as adults. See "Re-Arrest Among 16-Year-Olds Arrested in the First Year of Raise the Age" (NYCCJA, Dec. 14, 2021).

Last Name: Tlo Locality: Richmond

I am in favor of HB 906 and SB 378. For Thomas K Norment Jr. to express not passing legislation on criminal justice reform, is extremely baffling considering his personal run in with the law. I guess his argument would be (that was long ago) or it wasn’t a violent offense. Well, it was an offense that was detrimental to society as well as himself, and had the outcome been different if a fatality occurred with intent or not; yet he has been given a plethora of chances to be “rehabilitated.” He gave a piss poor of an apology on the senate floor, which in turn gave him a pass to play "God" and determine the fate of so many individuals. He was able to keep his career, the very career he uses to suppress others; yet individuals who've committed crimes as juveniles who spent their entire lives in prison, unable to see the world change, incapable of having beneficial adult conversations, see their children grow up, or even see how technology has shifted the world; can’t have the opportunity to have their case reevaluated? We don’t know if Thomas K Norment Jr.’s alleged rehabilitation caused him not to utilize a motor vehicle under the influence to date since his offense, we simply know he was given the CHANCE to prove he is capable of leading a positive life. That’s simply all the incarcerated want, A CHANCE! After all, this is a second look bill, and not the “set em’ free” bill. I challenge each individual to acknowledge the power we give to others. Know the lawmakers, research them and you'd be surprised at the crimes they've committed and yet, we allow them to continue making decisions for "the people." They were able to receive pardons, reprieves, passes and SECOND (or more) chances, for not only themselves, but for their children and families. Ask them to unmask the "high" profile cases sealed from public view in Fairfax County, so we can see just whose making these decisions. Acknowledge we all have a past, some darker than others, but we have it. Show me a person that hasn't made a mistake and I'll show you a liar through and through.

Last Name: Williams Locality: Arlington

I OPPOSE HB906 and SB378, for the reasons given by commenter Pack, below, and in the article cited by commenter Clegg, below. This legislation will increase violent crime in Virginia, and make crime victims relive their trauma.

Last Name: LOPEZ Locality: NEWPORT NEWS

I am in favor of HB906 introduced by Representative Coyner-R, because it gives incarcerated persons the opportunity to prove/plea their case on a leveled platform, rather constantly denied justice/pardons because there isn't a thorough review of a case file, or sufficient representation. Society is quick to pass judgment on inmates who are serving time for violent crimes, although, statistically speaking, there are individuals that have been incarcerated since they were juveniles and their early teens that were convicted or even coerced into plea deals, thinking they were going home, serving 25-life for a crime he/she did not commit. Arguing the release of murderers gives them an opportunity to reoffend, totally disregards this population. What if the individual didn't offend in the beginning? Sure, there are programs to assist these individuals; however, there are backlogs of these cases; keeping the innocent behind bars, spending their life in a prison cell, while the real perpetrator is free reoffending. Time isn't the only factor in determining a person's behavior and rehabilitation. Arguing, "murders being released after only serving less than a percent of their time" is also a flawed argument. In my personal experience, an individual who murdered my family member in Virginia, was released after 25 years and reoffended. This individual was a habitual offender who was granted multiple chances at freedom, yet we haven't given some a first chance. Leaders should consider the character of a person and what they have accomplished in order to assist in rehabilitating themselves while in prison, such as demonstrating upstanding citizen behavior, maxing out of the plan programs established by their respective facility, community involvement, educating themselves, acknowledging their faults and wrongdoings, military honors; as these are qualities and facts society is unable to see, witness, or take into account because the scarlet manuscript remains the person's criminal record. I understand the concern of the families reliving pain and agony if a murderer is released or survival victims reliving the trauma of their perpetrator(s); as I too know how this feels and the toll it can take on a family; however I do believe humanity can evolve and change. I believe individuals deserve second chances after their debts have been paid, which is why it is my sincerest hope that the innocent as well as true first-time offenders, benefit the most from the passage of this bill. Using "time" as the sole factor for determining who stays incarcerated, is a skewed view to rehabilitation. Time can be also be counteractive to progress.

Last Name: Pack Locality: Arlington

Please vote against HB906. It would let criminals who are serving life sentences petition for release from prison after as little as 10 years in prison. Even those guilty of the most horrific crimes, such as serial killings or serial rapes. Crime victims deserve better. Supporters of the bill claim on the Internet that people age out of crime after 10 years. But there are many examples of people being released after 10 years or more in prison, going on to commit truly awful crimes after their release. The New York Daily News ran a story on one example: "In August 1966, Kenneth McDuff was 19 and on parole when he decided, for fun, to murder three Texas teenagers, a girl and two boys. The crime became known as the 'Broomstick Murders,' so-called because of the weapon McDuff used to crush the girl’s throat after raping her.... three decades later, McDuff strode out of prison, paroled for a second time. This decision by Texas authorities may have taken the lives of a dozen or more people. No one knows for sure how many McDuff killed." The Daily News story is dated July 2, 2020, and is titled "JUSTICE STORY: Texas 'Broomstick Murder' killer walked out of prison, killed some more." Some criminals do not "age out" of crime. When he was 76, Albert Flick killed a woman, stabbing her over and over again while her kids watched. He had previously been in prison for 25 years for killing his wife by stabbing her over and over again in front of her daughter. USA Today described that tragedy in a July 20, 2019 article titled "Man, released from prison after being deemed too old to be a threat, convicted in another killing." Even if criminals do become less dangerous over time, it's still a mistake to release them after just 10 years if their crime was truly awful, like a serial murderer or serial rapist. Prison sentences are there to deter crimes, not just rehabilitate criminals. There are studies that show that longer prison sentences deter crimes more effectively than short ones. Some criminals are model inmates, then go on to kill or rape again after being released. It is hard to tell whether someone has really been rehabilitated.

Last Name: Clegg Locality: York

I oppose HB 906 for the reasons given for opposing the bill in the article, "Virginia bill could release some murderers after less than one-fourth of their sentence," available at https://libertyunyielding.com/2022/01/20/virginia-may-let-murderers-out-after-less-than-one-fourth-of-their-sentence

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