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Report criticizes Virginia for overreliance on incarceration

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) –A national justice reform organization released a report Wednesday saying that Virginia sends way too many people to prison, and spends too much money keeping them locked up for too long.

The report is the second one by the nonprofit Justice Policy Institute that criticizes Virginia’s “expensive, ineffective and unfair” justice systems. The commonwealth has the eighth highest jail incarceration rate in the United State, according to their data.

The latest report says that Virginia just had its first “documented increase in the prison population in five years,” and that the commonwealth is about to surpass $1 billion in annual funding for corrections.

This comes as the General Assembly grapples with passing a budget, having headed into a Special Session which itself costs taxpayers additional money.

Other states have a better balance between prison spending, and supporting individuals in the community, according to the report, and spend less money. In 2010, for every dollar Virginia spent on community supervision, it spent approximately $13 on costs for those incarcerated, according to the organization’s data.

Read more on their findings here: http://www.justicepolicy.org/research/6870

The report’s findings will be unveiled as part of a panel discussion and town hall Thursday (April 3) from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Richmond Police Academy located at Virginia Union University.

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