Virginia's justice system is too expensive, ineffective, unfair and headed for a crisis, according to a policy brief released Wednesday by the Justice Policy Institute and reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.”Despite some recent small progress in the areas of post-incarceration re-entry, particularly felony disenfranchisement, the state continues to suffer under misguided policies and practices of the past,” the study concludes.
The Justice Policy Institute is a liberal think tank based in Washington. Among other things, the study said truth-in-sentencing laws enacted in 1995 failed to reduce crime. It said, “Virginia's aggressive stance on arresting people for drug violations has had no effect on reducing drug use, which has increased in recent years.” The institute said small changes to state laws could make big differences. For example, raising the amount that distinguishes grand larceny from $200 to $600 could save the state millions of dollars. The threshold was last changed 33 years ago.