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Youngkin’s latest effort to block earned sentence credit program fails

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Gov. Glenn Youngkin had been blocking the implementation of an earned sentence credit program passed into law in 2020 from taking effect.

The latest effort from Youngkin, to bypass the legislative process by trying to insert language into the two-year state budget, failed, so, the ESC program will finally go into effect on July 1.

The program will allow eligible inmates in Virginia prisons to reduce their sentences in accord with a law passed in 2020 and signed into law by Youngkin’s predecessor, Ralph Northam, a Democrat.

Youngkin, a Republican, delayed the implementation of the law in 2022 through language inserted into the 2022-2024 state budget.

Republicans had tried to repeal the 2020 law outright, but failed.

The Virginia ACLU sued the Department of Corrections on behalf of inmates who would have been among the first group of people to be released in 2022

“This administration broke countless families’ hearts two years ago when it reneged on Virginia lawmakers’ promise that hard work in prison would pay off. It’s an enormous victory for potentially thousands of families – and the Commonwealth of Virginia’s bottom line – that the new budget finally allows the full earned sentence program to go into effect,” ACLU of Virginia Policy Director Chris Kaiser said.

“Virginia is safer because we give incarcerated people an incentive to rehabilitate themselves, and we’ll keep pushing to make sure every single person who should benefit from this significant policy reform can finally be reunited with their loved ones at home,” Kaiser said.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].