Public Comments for 02/03/2022 Public Safety - Public Safety
HB543 - Correctional facilities, local, regional, and community; attorney visitation of clients.
Last Name: Clarke Organization: Virginia Center for Restorative Justice Locality: Richmond, VA

HB1197 Please support this bill. Judy Clarke, Founder Virginia Center for Restorative Justice 804-316-0112

Last Name: Patwardhan Locality: Fairfax County

I SUPPORT HB 543, 683, 801, and 908.

HB621 - State correctional facilities; communication systems, free telephone calls & communication services.
No Comments Available
HB655 - Corrections Ombudsman, Office of the Department of; created, report.
Last Name: Mann Locality: Henrico

Independent oversight is an obvious necessity. We are not always aware of our biases or blind spots. It's not a character flaw, it's simply part of being human.

Last Name: Tisdale-Vakos Organization: Students for Equity and Reform in Virginia Locality: Virginia Beach

Delegates, I am writing to ask you all to vote YEA for HB 655 to create independent prison oversight throughout the Commonwealth. This form of oversight will allow for adequate inspections of correctional facilities, responses to grievances, and allow the public to be aware of the practices and procedures of prisons in Virginia. This bill not only benefits incarcerated individuals and their families, but it promotes the reality of Virginia as a state that listens to its citizens, from the incarcerated to Department of Corrections employees, and enacts change. The fiscal impact of HB 655 does not outweigh the immense benefits it will provide throughout correctional facilities. On behalf of Students for Equity and Reform in Virginia (SERV) at the University of Virginia, I ask that you vote YEA for HB 655 to promote accountability, impartiality, and reform in Virginia’s correctional facilities.

Last Name: Gill Organization: FAMM Locality: Washington, DC

Comments Document

FAMM is a nonpartisan, nonprofit sentencing and prison reform organization. We have thousands of Virginia members who have incarcerated loved ones in state prisons. HB 655 is needed to increase the responsiveness, transparency, and accountability of the Department of Corrections in the state.

Last Name: Agraharkar Organization: ACLU of Virginia Locality: Richmond

Comments Document

Dear Delegates: Attached is a letter of support for HB 655 on behalf of the ACLU of Virginia. We believe it is vitally important to establish meaningful, independent oversight over an agency that has a $1.5 billion budget, more than 12,000 employees, and more than 25,000 people in its care. Please vote yes on HB 655. Best, Vishal Agraharkar

Last Name: Adinolfi Locality: North Chesterfield

My husband, Quinton Adinolfi, was a victim of retaliation by the Virginia Department of Corrections in 2020. At the time he was housed at Dillwyn Correctional Center (level 2), I had reached out to the facility and headquarters about several concerns with medical treatment or COVID concerns with no action or changes being carried out at the facility. Once they were in the middle of a major COVID outbreak I decided I could not sit back anymore. I decided to write a letter detailing my concerns along with other's concerns and myself and several others sent the same email to the warden at Dillwyn, administrators at DOC headquarters, VDH, and more. That email was sent May 4, 2020 around 9:30am. That night around 5:00pm my husband was removed from his housing unit and shipped to Sussex 2 a level 4 facility!! Just like that no warning no hesitation. I was not provided any information as to why he was moved by DOC or the facility. I had to get a lawyer involved and ironically he received details on May 29th stating that my husband was not involved in any incidents at Dillwyn and that following Monday, first thing in the morning, he was moved to a different level 2 facility. I cannot even explain in words the pain and worry that my family went through because of the actions of DOC. Still to this day my husband has not been provided with a reason as to why he was moved. This bill would help ensure that other families will not go through things like this. They happen more often than any of us could ever imagine. Please vote yes for HB 655 and help protect our loved ones behind those walls! Thank you for your time. Sincerely, Angela Adinolfi

Last Name: Turner Organization: Valley Justice Coalition Locality: Harrisonburg

Hello, Delegates; We are writing to ask you to please support HB655 Creation of Office of the Department of Corrections Ombudsman introduced by Del Patrick Hope. Below is a link to the last of a 4-part series of television interviews by Courteney Stuart of CBS 19 News in Charlottesville, VA. They highlight a classic example of the Department of Correction’s blatant habit of retaliating against inmates, and in this case, by transferring inmates during a pandemic. The transfers were in fact meant to silence those of us who were complaining on a Dillwyn CC Facebook page that Dillwyn CC was not following CDC protocol to prevent the spread of COVID 19. The facility did in fact go on to have the earliest large-scale outbreak of COVID 19 of any facility. Had there been an Independent Ombudsman for DOC, we would not have taken our case to a lawyer. DOC has been the subject of many lawsuits that have resulted in claims against the Virginia taxpayer. With a $1.4 billion budget, DOC is long overdue for Oversight, Transparency and Accountability. Link to News Story:

Last Name: Turner Organization: Valley Justice Coalition Locality: Rockingham

Hello, Delegates ; Governor Youngkin has set accountability and transparency as priorities for the new parole board. Those of us supporting Del Hope’s Independent Ombudsman’s Bill for the Virginia Dept of Corrections are hoping that you will extend that accountability and transparency to the Virginia Department of Corrections. The DOC has a $1.4 billion dollar budget with no independent oversight. Would you please support this bipartisan bill? VOTE YES for HB 655 DOC Ombudsman Thank you. Gary and Debra Turner

HB665 - Correctional facilities, state; fees associated with inmates.
No Comments Available
HB673 - Correctional facilities; fees.
No Comments Available
HB674 - Telephone systems within correctional facilities; fees and records of communications.
No Comments Available
HB989 - Jails, local; Department of Corrections shall compensate for cost of incarceration.
Last Name: Flynn Organization: Virginia Municipal League Locality: Quinton

Mark Flynn, on behalf of the Virginia Municipal League. The League supports delegate Runion's bill and asks the subcommittee to support the legislation. The bill creates an equitable funding for local costs of housing persons convicted of felonies in the state system. Thank you.

Last Name: Huber Organization: Alleghany County Locality: Pulaski County

Dear Public Safety House Sub-Committee Members, I am writing to support passage of HB989. Alleghany County and our neighboring localities face a very serious situation regarding state responsible inmates. In FY2021 Alleghany County spent $673,050 to house inmates in other facilities with our overflow being directly attributable to state-responsible inmates. Over the past three years this situation has cost the County $1,557,090.78. We specifically ask that the Commonwealth fully reimburse localities for the cost of housing inmates that are the responsibility of the Commonwealth. The current lack of financial responsibility by the State is a backdoor way of balancing this portion of the state budget on the backs of local governments. By simply not transferring state-responsible inmates into the state prison system, the Commonwealth is severely affecting local budgets. This added cost is significant, uncontrollable and unpredictable. We sincerely hope that the General Assembly will address this problem in the current legislative session considering the State's current inflow of substantial financial resources. HB 989 is a major step in the right direction and we encourage its adoption. Please let me know of anything we can do to assist you in considering this matter. Sincerely, Pete Huber Interim Alleghany County Administrator Cell 540 440-0308

HB1053 - Correctional facilities, local; fees associated with inmates.
Last Name: Tina Organization: Pathway Homes Consumer Board Locality: Alexandria

Just like to be heard about the bills thank u

Last Name: Halasz Organization: City of Lexington Locality: Lexington

It is a continuing financial burden to localities to be asked to house state responsible inmates without receiving full compensation from the state. Our localities have long understood that state beds in correctional facilities may not always be readily available. We are glad to afford the state the opportunity to place inmates in our facilities, but we must be fully compensated for our actual costs - the same costs we pay for the daily care of an inmate. By making our communities absorb this expense, you effectively prevent us from investing these dollars in education, law enforcement, fire & rescue, streets and other infrastructure, etc, Just do what is fair by you local partners and service providers & with a budget flush with excess revenues - send some of it here!

HB1291 - Correctional facilities; prohibits use of isolated confinement.
Last Name: Gold Locality: Alexandria

I urge the committee to pass this bill. I wish to live in a state whose humane treatment of the incarcerated is based on 21st century knowledge and understanding. We simply should not abide the use of solitary confinement as a "lesson" for prisoners. It only breeds disorientation and mental health crises. Thank you, Donna Gold Alexandria, VA

Last Name: Gruber Organization: Virginia People’s Party Locality: Arlington

Whether it’s labeled “solitary confinement” or “restrictive housing” or “isolated confinement,” the practice of holding an incarcerated person alone in an isolated cell for an extended period of time is torture, according to the Mandela Rules adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. By this definition, Virginia’s prisons torture thousands of people every year. This inhumane practice is harmful to the mental health of imprisoned people, serves no rehabilitative purpose, and is a moral stain on the character of our commonwealth. Let us be a model for the country by passing HB 1291 and ending the practice of extended solitary confinement in Virginia.

Last Name: Wooten Locality: Hampton, VA

I would like to speak.

Last Name: Lewis Organization: Mt. Vernon Unitarian Church Locality: Alexandria

I urge members of the Subcommittee to vote in favor of HB 1291. The routine use of isolated (solitary) confinement in Virginia correctional facilities is a practice that is dehumanizing and can lead to mental illness. HB 1291 would require Virginia prisons to consider humane alternatives before using a practice that is widely considered torture. There is little evidence that solitary confinement makes prisons safer, and it's use may threaten public safety. Passage of HB 1291 will make Virginia safer and a more just society. I urge members of the Subcommittee to vote in favor of HB 1291.

HB1332 - Correctional facility; intentionally covering, removing, etc., a security camera, penalty.
Last Name: Britt Organization: private citizen Locality: Portsmouth

I am in support of HB 1332 because the safety of all staff must be a top priority. Offenders in correctional facilities commit infractions on a continual basis with little or no administrative consequences are issued to offenders which can possibly deter them from interrupting the effective operations of the correctional facility (whether it's jail or prison). There are situations in which correctional officers work at their post and the essential security equipment that is provided for them barely work or don't work at all. Offenders should be held accountable for tampering with security equipment regardless of their security level. For this reason, please support HB 1332. Thank you, constituents.

Last Name: Mapes Organization: Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office Locality: Virginia Beach

Surveillance cameras inside the facility are critical to deterring, investigating, and prosecuting criminal activity, such as assault, tampering with other security devices, and introduction and use of contraband, inside the jail. Inmates cover the cameras to hide assaults or other criminal activity. Often, video surveillance is the only tool to identify assailants as victims may be unable or unwilling to do so. Video surveillance is a key piece of evidence during prosecution. For these reasons, I ask that you support HB1332.

End of Comments