Issues in Depth


Discovery Reform

“Criminal discovery” refers to the process of government disclosure of information about a case to the defendant. It is an essential due process safeguard, providing an accused notice of his charge and information necessary to prepare...

Drug Policy

While other states -- including Virginia's neighbors -- take steps to decriminalize or legalize marijuana, eliminate mandatory minimums and reduce sentencing disparities, the Commonwealth takes an active role in the failed war on drugs...

Post-Conviction Relief

Virginia is so certain "its criminal justice system works correctly the first time that the Virginia Supreme Court has all but closed the door on the right of those convicted to prove their innocence after conviction..."

Larceny Threshold

The “larceny threshold” is the dividing line between misdemeanor and felony theft. “Virginia’s threshold for felony larceny was set in 1980 at $200” and is the lowest in the country. In practice this means that Virginia prosecutors...

Capital Punishment

With the implementation of ABA standards for capital defense, use of the death penalty has declined in recent years, but Virginia still holds firm as one of the most active death chambers in American history, and there are troubling signs that...

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Court Costs and Fines

In Virginia and elsewhere, the costs of the justice system are billed increasingly to the accused, creating harsher treatment of poor defendants, including the risk of arrest and incarceration.

Indigent Defense

Despite reform efforts in the past two decades, Virginia’s indigent defense system remains "deeply flawed and fails to provide indigent defendants the guarantees of effective assistance of counsel required by federal and state law."

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Alternatives to Incarceration

Substance abuse treatment programs, mental health services, mental health and drug courts, and other measures meant to promote rehabilitation and reduce recidivism, are unfunded and unavailable to most of those who need them...

Other Issues (and Links)

Click here for more Virginia reform priorities, as well links to a variety of organizations in the Commonewalth that advocate for justice reform from across the ideological spectrum.