Law and Crime

Virginia's Rising Prison Rates

May 4, 2015

With 2.3 million Americans now behind bars, many states are looking at alternatives to jail time for those who commit non-violent crimes, but Virginia continues to imprison large numbers of people.

Crime in this country has fallen by more than 50% since the early 90’s, and Virginia has the third lowest rate of violent crime in the nation, but Lauren Brook-Eisen, a senior attorney with the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU says Virginia ranks 13th when it comes to locking people up. 

VT Student Turns Himself In For Social Media Threat

Apr 30, 2015

Virginia Tech and Blacksburg Police have made an arrest in a case this week involving a threat made on the social media site, Yik Yak. 

After authorities identified him as a suspect, he turned himself in as the author of a post warning of another – quote—“4-16 moment.”

21 -year-old Kiung Moon, is charged with ‘harassment by computer’ a misdemeanor which could lead to  up to 12 months in jail and a $2500 fine. The Virginia Tech senior, a business information technology major, is also banned from campus.

It hasn’t made many headlines, but this is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month—and Virginia has announced that more than 24,000 crashes statewide last year were attributed to distracted drivers. 

Those distractions caused both fatalities and thousands of injuries.  State officials stress that such accidents can be prevented.

The first thing state Highway Safety Office Director John Saunders does at work each day is read the traffic fatality report from the previous day. Saunders warns that behind the numbers are real people with families.

Anne Marie Morgan

Some local branches of the NAACP and other community organizations are speaking out about police treatment of African-Americans—especially the recent high-profile incidents in the U.S. where some have died while in custody or under pursuit.  They’re taking their concerns on the road with a listening tour that will enable citizens to share their own personal experiences -- and they’re hoping the “Spring Social Justice Series” will help spark wholesale changes in the criminal justice system.

As advocates mark National Crime Victims Week, in Virginia they're marking the 20th anniversary of the state’s very own Crime Victims' Bill of Rights.  But experts say those provisions, said to have given sufferers more rights with teeth, are also more relevant now as the state deals with proposals to address campus sexual assaults. 

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