McAuliffe releases plan for criminal justice reforms
MCLEAN, Va. (WDBJ) - Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has released a plan for criminal justice reform he says is focused on “equity, rehabilitation and second chances.”
“We have an antiquated, at times racist, criminal justice system with these outrageously long sentences,” McAuliffe told WDBJ7 Monday morning.
His plan includes support for a constitutional amendment providing for the automatic restoration of voting rights. McAuliffe said he would also hire more public defenders, expand eligibility for parole and invest in re-entry services for ex-offenders.
“I want to morally do the right thing,” McAuliffe said, “but also do it fair and equitably. It actually saves the taxpayers a lot of money if we’re smart about it.”
McAuliffe is seeking a second term as governor; his first term was immediately before current Governor Ralph Northam’s term.
Following the release of the plan, the group Virginia Justice Democrats questioned McAuliffe’s commitment to criminal justice reform during his four years in office. “When Terry McAuliffe had the power to enact true criminal justice reforms, he chose not to act and turned a blind eye to those he claims to be saving now.”
McAullife notes he restored the voting rights to over 173,000 Virginians, more, he says, than any other governor in American history.
Four other Democrats, including Del. Lee Carter, Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and Sen. Jennifer McClellan are also vying for the nomination.
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