Republican lawmakers call for moratorium on early release of violent offenders

Published: May. 12, 2020 at 9:44 PM EDT
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Virginia Republicans called on Governor Ralph Northam to declare a moratorium on the early release of violent offenders by the Virginia Parole Board.

In a news release Tuesday morning, GOP leaders in the House of Delegates and State Senate said a moratorium on the early release of violent felons would restore confidence in Virginia's criminal justice system.

Del. Todd Gilbert is the Republican Leader in the House.

"All of this is troubling that people who were convicted of crimes that juries decided they needed to spend a long time behind bars are being released well before their time is due and under circumstances that clearly don't follow the law," Gilbert told WDBJ7 in an online interview.

State leaders announced a 30-day delay in the release of a man who was convicted of murdering a Richmond police officer in 1979. The state's Inspector General will review the case.

But Northam has rejected the Republican call for a moratorium on parole for all violent felons.

Northam spokesperson Alena Yarmosky shared the following response Tuesday afternoon:

"Governor Northam rejects this proposal. Based on our current laws, parole provides a very limited number of individuals—who have rehabilitated themselves and demonstrated that their release is compatible with public safety—the opportunity for a second chance. The Governor and his administration have worked tirelessly to create a fairer and more equitable criminal justice system, and safe parole is an important part of that work "

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