In July 2015, Governor Terry McAuliffe signed Executive Order No. 44, establishing the Commission on Parole Review to evaluate policy, assess progress and public safety outcomes, and determine whether the intended goals of abolishing parole for felony offenders have been achieved.
The 27-member Commission is composed of a group of Virginia leaders including law enforcement professionals, legislators, community leaders, and academics. The Commission on Parole Review will consider evidence-based approaches to public safety and proper rehabilitation of offenders to prepare them to re-enter communities as productive citizens.
Former Virginia Attorney General Mark Earley will chair the commission alongside Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran and Secretary of the Commonwealth Levar Stoney.
Parole was abolished in Virginia in 1995. Since its abolishment, offenders are eligible for parole if they meet one of the following criteria:
- The crime was committed prior to January 1, 1995
- The offender committed multiple misdemeanors prior to July 1, 2008
- The offender was sentenced to indeterminate sentences under the Youthful Offender Act
In the Governor’s Executive Order, the Commission is said to address five significant priorities:
- Conduct a review of previous goals and subsequent outcomes
- Examine the cost of parole reform/abolition
- Evaluate the best practices of other states
- Recommend other mediation strategies
- Provide recommendations to address public safety challenges
The Commission will meet regularly and will submit a final report in December 2015.