Ralph Northam unveils Virginia criminal justice reform agenda

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam on Monday unveiled his agenda to reform Virginia’s criminal justice system.

In a Medium post published today, Northam, a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for governor, outlined the current administration’s efforts to make the system fairer, and presented his plans to continue making progress as governor.

The plan is a comprehensive approach to reform, including:

  • Increased support for substance abuse treatment programs

  • Continuing the restoration of rights of those who have paid their debts to society

  • Decriminalizing marijuana possession

  • Ending the practice of suspending a driver’s license simply because a person can’t afford to pay court costs

  • Raise felon larceny threshold to $500

  • Invest in mental health in jails and prisons

  • Encourage community-based alternatives to juvenile correctional centers

  • End the school-to-prison pipeline

In the post, Northam wrote, “The work of creating a fair and equal criminal justice system is far from finished…We must continue marching towards those ideals written in our founding documents—that all people are to be treated equally under our laws.”

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