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Jennifer Carroll Foy releases plan to reform broken criminal justice system, address police brutality

Jennifer Carroll Foy
Jennifer Carroll Foy

Jennifer Carroll Foy released a plan to fight for comprehensive criminal justice reform in Virginia that builds on her Racial Justice Framework released last summer.

As a magistrate judge, public defender and legislator, Carroll Foy, a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for governor, has spent years fighting for a fairer and more equitable criminal justice system.

Yesterday, Carroll Foy published an open letter to her sons, reflecting on police brutality and growing up Black in America.

“From the courthouse to the statehouse, fighting for true equality has been my life’s work. We must all be serious about ending the broken status quo that has created two different systems of justice that exists in our Commonwealth – one that works for the wealthy and well connected, and one that works against poor people, Black people, and other marginalized communities. I’ve seen up close the ways this two-tier system can hurt and harm families, and it’s far past time we put a stop to it,” Carroll Foy said.

“My plan will implement real reforms and address police brutality in a meaningful way. Others have had the chance, but didn’t act – and that failure meant zero accountability for bad actors and persistent inequality. I won’t rest until our systems of justice are truly just, fair, and equitable for my sons and for all Virginians.”

Carroll Foy’s plan builds on the work she led as delegate to advocate for serious criminal justice reform and ending police brutality.

Key highlights of the plan include:

  1. Addressing police misconduct and accountability by ending qualified immunity, which widely shields law enforcement officers from civil suits.
  2. Ensuring that every case of a police-involved killing is subject to an independent investigation, and investing the resources needed to prevent police brutality in the first place – including requiring officers to undergo de-escalation, use of force, and implicit bias training.
  3. Ensuring that mental health professionals have a role as first responders and that officers use the de-escalation techniques they are trained to use so that everyone is treated the way we should be treated
  4. Building on marijuana legalization to ensure the inclusion of minority-owned businesses and sellers in the cannabis industry, full collective bargaining rights for employers, and that reinvestments are made in communities most harmed by its prohibition.
  5. Instituting the full repeal of mandatory minimum sentencing laws and restoring judicial autonomy and authority. These laws have exacerbated mass incarceration, especially of Black and Brown Virginians, unfairly expanded prosecutorial powers, and favored punishment for drug-related offenses over treatment and rehabilitation efforts.
  6. Continuing to ensure comprehensive pretrial reform by ensuring counsel at first appearance and further reducing the court’s reliance on the cash bail system.
  7. Ensuring funding for current and new staff at the state parole board to increase transparency and efficiency and work towards the restoration of parole for incarcerated persons who have demonstrated a readiness to re-enter society.

Read her full plan here.

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