Law & Crime

Legal and Criminal

Dave Nakayama / Creative Commons

In 1995, Virginia abolished parole -- a change that led to crowding of state prisons and longer stays behind bars.  Now, small cracks have developed in the legal wall that keeps about 30,000 people locked up.  Sandy Hausman reports on changes that could free some inmates.

The Promise Movie

It’s been more than 30 years since police arrested Jens Soering, an honors student from the University of Virginia, and charged him with the brutal murder of his girlfriend’s parents in their Bedford County home.  To this day, Soering insists he is innocent, but he’s been turned down for parole nearly a dozen times.  Today, his lawyer filed a petition asking for a full pardon - citing new evidence that Soering is not guilty.  

AP Photo / Steve Helber, File

Under pressure from Governor Terry McAuliffe, Virginia’s parole board has doubled its release rate – freeing six percent of eligible inmates in 2016, up from three percent last year.  Tomorrow, the board will consider an especially controversial case – that of a convicted killer who’s been behind bars here for 26 years.  

Suffolk Police Department

A Virginia lawmaker known for his extreme opposition to abortion has been charged with cruelty and injury to children.  Richard Lee Morris of Suffolk was arrested earlier this week.

Dave Nakayama / Creative Commons

What happens when children get involved in the criminal justice system? Oftentimes, they get sent to large juvenile facilities, which critics say leads to a cycle of getting re-arrested and ultimately a life of crime and imprisonment. Now state leaders are trying to break that cycle. 

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