Senate Democrats Make More Strides in Justice Reform

RICHMOND, Va.: Today, two bills addressing justice reform passed the Virginia Senate:

  • SB 1266, Deeds, returns magistrate discretion when awarding bail

  • SB 1456, Marsden, removes mandatory commitment for younger children and opts instead for community-based alternatives

Majority Leader Dick Saslaw and Caucus Chair Mamie Locke said: “Virginia is leading justice reform, and that’s because of Senate Democrats. In the last year, we’ve made the Commonwealth more fair, trustworthy, and transparent. Today, we are raising the bar even higher -- because Virginians deserve a government that works for them, not against them.”

Senator Creigh Deeds said: “The United States has stood for innocence until proven guilty since its inception. Setting bail should be up to the judge and considered on a case-by-case basis, and we have taken a big step today toward making that happen.”

Senator Dave Marsden said: “Part of solving systemic injustice is changing the way children interact with our justice system. From a young age, children are currently eligible to be detained. By raising the age for certain crimes a child may be committed and introducing community-based alternatives, we are helping the next generation to learn and grow from their mistakes instead of becoming a part of a system that will let them down. I spent a lifetime in the juvenile justice system where we were in the lesson-teaching business. We now know that we have to be in the business of restoration.”

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