We promote criminal justice reform in Virginia through strategic involvement in elections where it matters most.


The Problem

There's a reason that "the scales of justice" is such an apt metaphor in criminal courts; fairness is a balancing act, one that requires weighing judgment against mercy, and the enforcement of laws against the protection of individual rights. Maintaining that balance is the touchstone of a fair justice system.

While states across the country have evolved to instill contemporary values of fairness and decency in their criminal courts, Virginia's remain mired in the past, favoring secrecy over openness, retribution over rehabilitation, the privileged over the disadvantaged, and the government over the individual. This imbalance is in many ways the reflection of an underlying imbalance in Virginia's political sphere, one that must be addressed in order to achieve to meaningful change.

Our Purpose

Justice Forward Virginia is a part of a broader movement to restore balance to the scales of justice in the Commonwealth. We seek to do so through the electoral process, by supporting candidates for state and local office who advocate for comprehensive reforms to the justice system; candidates who haven’t just memorized talking points, but who commit to making reform a real governing priority.

Our involvement is strategic: with the aid of our allies, we identify state and local offices where change is needed, and offer our assistance. This may entail involvement in primaries or general elections, races for General Assembly seats or even local elections for Commonwealth's Attorney. It may focus on incumbents in the General Assembly who have stood in the way of change, or challengers for whom reform is paramount.

Further, Justice Forward Virginia is nonpartisan; we understand that progressives, small-government conservatives, libertarians and others are all natural allies in the movement for criminal justice reform, and our work reflects as much. No matter the party, primary or election, if we can change the system, we will become involved.


 
Under Virginia’s rules, the chances of further miscarriages of justice are too great.
— Washington Post Editorial Board, prior to 2013 defeat of discovery reform effort
 

Our Issues and Candidates

To learn more about the reforms we promote, click here. To more about the races and candidates we're following, click here.