Prisons

Keeping up with Technology
12:08 pm
Tue June 16, 2015

The Challenge of Getting a GED Inside

L- R Brandon Snider, Jason Whitlock Frank Fassl passed their GED exams

High School graduation rates appear to be on the rise across the country, but for one segment of the population, they’ve dropped dramatically. The pass rate for prison inmates taking the G-E-D plummeted after a new computer based test was introduced in 2014.

G-E-D stands for General Education Diploma. It’s a test people can take if they failed to get their high school degrees. Corrections facilities are facing new challenges in making the tests available to inmates, even as experts stress, there’s nothing better than that degree to keep people from returning to jail.

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Virginia Supreme Court
4:00 am
Mon June 8, 2015

Executions & Secrecy: FOIA Case

Virginia Supreme Court justices will soon be deciding on a case that could have a significant impact on what state officials can withhold—even when a Freedom of Information Act request is submitted.

Although this case began with one lawmaker asking about how executions are carried out, he also discovered that agencies may have found a way around disclosing pertinent information. 

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Law & Crime
10:15 am
Tue June 2, 2015

VA Supreme Court Rules on Suppressed Evidence

Virginia’s Supreme Court has handed down a ruling that could help people wrongfully convicted of crimes.

Early one morning in 1999, a group of young men robbed a diner in Norfolk, and lawyer Jim Neale says that crime led to murder.

“An off-duty federal police officer was a customer in that diner during that robbery, and she attempted to intervene, and a gunman, a masked gunman shot and killed her.”

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Law & Crime
12:27 pm
Mon May 4, 2015

Virginia's Rising Prison Rates

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. 

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Sunshine Week
12:04 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Shining a Light on VA's Death Row

This week civic groups and nonprofits are taking a closer look at the importance of open government and freedom of information for Sunshine week.  

Sunshine is absent in the death chambers of Virginia, where the public has no access to basic information about how inmates are killed. Policies and procedures outlining the process are concealed from view. Training manuals are closely guarded. Even specific details about how executions are carried out are kept secret. 

"I'm not clear what there is to hide here."

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