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Archive for December, 2010

Va Pilot: Youth sentences demand flexibility

This morning, the Virginian Pilot once again weighed in on trying youth as adults. 

The Editorial Board endorsed the Crime Commission’s proposal to give circuit court judges more options when it comes to making decisions about a youth’s future and suggested that some youth need a structured environment and training, not a felony conviction that will make it difficult for them to lead successful lives in their communities. 

In the words of the editorial, “If we lock them up, don’t offer job training or counseling, don’t teach them to read and write and don’t give them reason to change, they probably won’t.”

Click here to read the full editorial.

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Crime Commission Update

THANK YOU to everyone who attended last week’s Crime Commission meeting!

Here is a quick summary of what happened:

Unfortunately, the Crime Commission did not endorse Sen. Edwards’ bill, which would let youths appeal the prosecutor’s decision to try them in Circuit Court (adult court).  We supported that bill.

 The Crime Commission also chose to endorse a bill that would increase the number of youth who can be tried as adults both automatically and by the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s decision. We opposed that bill.

The one bright spot is that the Crime Commission endorsed allowing Circuit Court judges to give youth a juvenile adjudication instead of an adult felony conviction — after they have met the conditions of their sentence.

What’s next:

The Crime Commission’s actions aren’t the final word!  These recommendations will likely be introduced as bills in the 2011 General Assembly, which convenes in January.  We’ll keep you up to date on the bills as they make their way through the legislature and will likely call on you to give your input to policymakers.

Stay tuned!

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