Tell Governor Northam: Open the Black Box around Conditional Pardons


COVID-19 cases in Virginia prisons and jails continue to climb, yet those in charge are doing the bare minimum to release people who don't pose a threat to others.

Governor Ralph Northam has the power to grant clemency to people who are incarcerated through a process called conditional pardon, but he has not released any data about his progress. We don't know how many people have been reviewed, approved, or denied. His administration has claimed "executive privilege" and refused to answer any questions about conditional pardons, or even to confirm that they are working to get eligible people released.

Transparency is essential to trust. Virginians deserve to know if our governor is using everything in his toolbox to protect the health of people who are incarcerated who pose no threat to others.

Message Recipients:
Governor Ralph Northam

[The Form Label field is hidden on ACLU message action forms]
Your Message

Prisons and jails are petri dishes for COVID-19. Failure to reduce the incarcerated population increases the risk of spread for all of us. As the governor of Virginia, you must make it your priority to release people from prisons and jails who are not a threat of harm to others, using everything in your toolbox. This is a matter of life and death for our community.

You have the power to release people through conditional pardons, and the public deserves to know how you are using that power to cut down the prison population and protect us from COVID-19. We expect transparency from the highest office in the Commonwealth. We urge you to release as much data as possible – as soon as possible – about your effort to review and grant conditional pardons.

The lives and well-being of people who are incarcerated matter. You can’t publicly say “Black Lives Matter” on your social media and public statements without taking concrete actions to address the COVID-19 pandemic in our prisons and jails. I expect you to show your commitment to racial justice by being transparent about your efforts to address mass incarceration.

People in prisons and jails were not sentenced to die, and it would be a grave injustice to unnecessarily keep people behind bars. I call on you to lead with integrity, compassion, and justice and make all conditional pardon data public.


[First Name] [Last Name]
[Your Address]

Recent participants