Virginia Lawmakers Call Shadow Prisons “Appalling”

Featuring Senator Joe Morrissey, Delegate Patrick Hope, and Delegate Don Scott. Moderator Gin Carter of the Humanization Project. Just Future Project is one of the members of our coalition and they deal specifically… with VCBR. If people don’t know what that is and what that’s about, I know I personally was completely appalled last year when I learned what VCBR is.

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Bed Space – Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation (VCBR) Expansion Project

  Virginia is rapidly running out of space at it’s pre-crime preventative detention facility to warehouse prisoners after the completion of their criminal sentence. In June 2018, the commonwealth broke ground on a massively expensive construction project to expand the current “not-a-prison” prison to add beds. Strangely, the commonwealth doesn’t seem to actually know how many beds they are building.    The original Burkeville facility included 300 beds. The Virginia General Assembly approved the double-bunking of 150 cells at VCBR in 2011, which increased their total capacity to 450 beds. “Construction has begun on the expansion of VCBR in June…

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Civil Commitment and the destruction of human rights (Part 1)

Part I   Part II   Part III BY EARL YARINGTON · DECEMBER 30, 2019  A few years ago, I wrote an article on a blog. It was more an experiment, a testing ground. The website was “Criticl.” It was mainly a political site that supported the legalization of marijuana and of Bernie Sanders becoming president. I wrote that there are two ways our government (local, state, federal) is attempting to limit the Constitution: the fear of terrorism and child pornography law. It may be understandable to hate terrorists and sex offenders, but, you know, the devil is in the details. Who exactly is a…

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Homophobic Outrage in Virginia

Last month, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) succeeded in his aim of incarcerating a gay man indefinitely for sending text messages. AG Herring maintains the man – who has never been accused or arrested for any act of violence – is a “Sexually Violent Predator.” Virgina’s treatment of Galen Baughman, now 36,has attracted protests from LGBT and criminal-justice groups, and at least one Virginia lawmaker. His case highlights the dangers of Orwellian civil-commitment laws that allow indefinite confinement of people to prevent possible future offenses.

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Some Virginia sex offenders held long after sentence up

By Dena Potter, Associated Press Nov 19, 2011, 12:15pm RICHMOND, Va. — Having already served their sentences, hundreds of Virginia sex offenders are held behind bars for months — some for years — while waiting to see whether they’ll be sent to a psychiatric center indefinitely, an Associated Press review has found. Judges acting on the requests of both prosecutors and defense attorneys routinely shrug off the legal deadline for making that decision, leaving the inmates in limbo well beyond their designated punishment and without access to the very kind of treatment the state says they may need. Attorneys and…

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Patrick Hope column: Virginia’s sexually violent predator laws have gone too far

By: Patrick Hope Sept 29, 2019 The “lock ’em up and throw away the key” era of criminal justice is over. Virginians have reassessed their views on criminal justice to better address mass incarceration weighed against costs and the likelihood to reoffend. Policies ripe for reform include: resentencing prisoners who were convicted as youth; repealing mandatory minimums; legalizing marijuana; abolishing the death penalty; ending solitary; reinstating parole; ending cash bail; and creating alternatives to incarceration. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has a strong track record of criminal justice reform. But there’s one enforcement aspect his office needs to re-examine: the…

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Sex Offenders Locked Up on a Hunch

The essence of the American criminal justice system is reactive, not predictive: You are punished for the crime you committed. You can’t be punished simply because you might commit one someday. You certainly can’t be held indefinitely to prevent that possibility. And yet that is exactly what is happening to about 5,000 people convicted of sex crimes around the country. This population, which nearly doubled in the last decade, has completed prison sentences but remains held in what is deceptively called civil commitment — the practice of keeping someone locked up in an institution for months, years or even decades for…

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Prominent voices chime in on Twitter

Lots of folks are talking about the abusive, homophobic, and blatantly unconstitutional use of pre-crime preventative detention laws in Virginia. Here we have aggregated some prominent voices expressing their outrage on Twitter. ⁦.⁦@MarkHerringVA⁩ has made exceptionally strong statements on ways to improve our criminal justice system. Civil commitment, however, is an area where Va law and enforcement is an injustice and a violation of civil rights. Here’s a prime example: https://t.co/7kVW1wDSIg — Patrick Hope (@HopeforVirginia) August 24, 2019 All the power to you for trying to undo this great injustice https://t.co/SPw4aKEkWr — Arax (@araxkl_arax) September 20, 2019 Another injustice. Help…

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Letter to the editor in WaPo on reentry for people living on the registry

Persons with sex-related convictions are often deliberately excluded from the reentry picture.  This LTE points that out to the Washington Post and argues that everyone is entitled to a just future.  Kudos to Kirsten Darby for using this important advocacy tool to register her perspective as a member of the community, with the newspaper’s editor. I read with great interest the September 3 article [in the Washington Post] by Tracy Jan documenting the legal hurdles of those formerly incarcerated. I’ve led a faith based prison pen pal ministry for many years and have seen first hand the struggles these men…

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