Prisons

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.

 

As the Obama administration draws to a close, officials at the Justice Department are busy commuting sentences of people convicted for drug offenses, especially crack cocaine. And, as Michael Pope reports, nowhere in the country has sentences for crack dealers as long as the Eastern District of Virginia.

Leaders in Arlington are settling a federal lawsuit against a jail for failing to offer services to a deaf inmate. As Michael Pope reports, the settlement could have consequences for jails across Virginia -- and the United States.

Virginia is already spending over a billion dollars a year on its department of corrections - a system responsible for more than 30,000 prisoners.  To meet the social and spiritual needs of some, it depends on volunteers from a Christian group called Grace Inside.  

Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe is fighting back against Republican criticism that his executive order restoring voting rights to former felons. The governor tells Virginia Public Radio’s Michael Pope that the clerical errors were from bad data from the Department of Corrections.

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