McClellan proposes plan to transform Virginia justice system
State Sen. Jennifer McClellan released her plan to make Virginia’s justice system more fair for all Virginians during an event at the Norfolk Courthouse on Tuesday.
In the new “Transforming Virginia’s Justice System” plan, McClellan, a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for governor, lays out her agenda to reinvest and refund community programs to provide the help and the treatment that will keep many individuals from interacting with the criminal justice system in the first place.
McClellan calls for major police reform policies, including ending qualified immunity, mandating a new Civilian Review Oversight Board, and creating a State Investigative Unit for all police misconduct investigations.
The plan also proposes sentencing and bail reform, including reinstating discretionary parole, funding investigators to eliminate the backlog of pardon petitions, ending cash bail and eliminating mandatory minimum sentences. These actions will help reduce the disproportionate incarceration of people of color, low-income individuals, and disabled individuals. In her plan, McClellan also pledges to use her executive power to pardon anyone incarcerated for a marijuana possession offense.
“It’s time to fundamentally transform Virginia’s justice system,” McClellan said. “Too many Virginians have been incarcerated because of the color of their skin, their socioeconomic background, their mental health condition, or their ability. Black and Brown communities continue to be the target of excessive police force and brutality, and we have to put an end to it. As Governor, I will build on the generational progress we’ve made in the General Assembly and implement comprehensive justice reform across the Commonwealth to ensure that our justice system is truly just.
“Hampton Roads has seen injustice take its toll with the shooting of Donovan Lynch and the harassment of Lt. Caron Nazario cutting deep into our communities. It’s time Virginia had a governor who takes a firm stand and transforms justice in Virginia, and that’s exactly what I’ll do as governor,” McClellan said.