Please contact Chairperson Obenshain, or a Senate Courts of Justice Committee member of whom you are a constituent, to support SB1687. Contact info here.
After contacting your legislator, report your advocacy here.
SB 1687 Bail; data collection and reporting standards, report.
Status: Senate Courts of Justice, on docket for Monday, 8am, Senate Room A, Pocahontas Building
Justification: The State of Virginia does not track bail, whether it’s bail set or whether those held are indigent. 50% those in jail are in pre-trial detention. Of these, 28% are held and 18% are granted a cash bail. The Fair Institute studies show the amount of bail set or the presence of bail at all has no bearing on whether someone returns for trial. SB1687 would allow for data to be collected and criteria set for data. This information will allow the state to more fairly serve those in the criminal justice system.
- Virginia does not collect or report data concerning statewide pretrial outcomes. As a result, the current process leads to unnecessary pretrial detention, punctuated by racial and economic disparities. Without consistent data collection and reporting on the full range of pretrial decisions, we will not be able to create laws that address these problems or move us closer to justice and away from costly, unnecessary, and often unfair detention.
- Unjust pretrial detention affects us all. People in jail are cut off from important life functions like working, caring for their families, or accessing medication to maintain their mental or physical health. For anyone already struggling, being jailed pretrial can mean sliding further into desperate circumstances. Studies show that unnecessary pretrial detention makes some people more likely to break the law once released.
- Virginia’s pretrial detention rate has been on the rise for decades. In fact, the most common outcome for those who come through Virginia’s pretrial system is outright detention (26 percent of people), followed by release conditioned on paying money (18 percent of people), often in amounts that are out of reach. Unnecessary pretrial detention exposes people to harsh conditions of confinement that forever alter their life outcomes.
- More information here.
LWV Position: Support for an adequately funded judicial and corrections system that serves all people without discrimination and incorporates restorative justice practices; provides judicial selection by the General Assembly with the use of a nominating commission of laypersons and lawyers; sentencing by judges; an effectively administered corrections system that protects society and rehabilitates offenders; professionally administered local jails and community-based corrections; and policies that include alternatives to incarceration and use of community volunteers.
Always keep our League policy in mind:
“Only the President or her designee is authorized to speak for the League.
However, we encourage all members to contact their public officials as individuals, whether or not they agree with a League position.”