It is now common cause, uniting Virginias of all political stripes, to champion the idea that our criminal justice system is in desperate need of reform. But the folks in Richmond continue to fail to act to right the wrongs of our penal codes. The effects of this misapplication of justice on our diverse community have been far and wide, and it’s time for them to come to an end.
It begins with a return to community policing. Our communities are built on strong ties between neighbors, and those should extend to relationships between our citizens and the police. Enabling that trust should be accelerated by the passing of a statewide requirement for force-wide use of body and dash cameras.
And rebuilding our communities also means creating sensible drug rehabilitation policies. Too many communities have been decimated by burdensome arrests and jail sentences caused by infractions related to issues of mental health and addiction. We see this happening more and more in the face of our opioid and heroin epidemic. But we’ve substituted incarceration for care. I’ll fight to make sure our government provides mental health and addiction care to those who have and will end up in legal trouble due to addiction, and that we help with their re-entry into society. Our system should not be one of just punishment, but progress too.