Tell Lawmakers to Give Rehabilitated People a Second Chance

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Virginia has the 17th highest imprisonment rate in the country and spends $1.4 billion dollars annually to keep people in prison. Approximately 14% of the state's prison population is serving lifelong sentences, even though research has repeatedly shown that extreme sentences do not result in safer communities.

A Second Look law would allow people with unnecessarily long sentences to petition the court for resentencing after serving 10 to 15 years in prison, depending on the age they were originally sentenced. This would provide an incentive to people who've received extremely long sentences to take accountability and focus on rehabilitation during their period of incarceration.

People change. We need a criminal legal system that recognizes the hard work that people do to rehabilitate themselves. Locking people up and throwing away the key devastates families and deprives communities of all the good people can do when given a chance. A Second Look law could save lives and millions of taxpayer dollars. Tell your lawmakers to vote for Second Look legislation.

Message Recipients:
Your State Senator
Your State House Representative

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Your Message
Use the form to send a message to your legislator.

As your constituent, I urge you to support Second Look legislation. Virginia has the 17th highest imprisonment rate in the country. We don't just lock up too many people – we lock people up for too long. Approximately 14% of the state's prison population is serving lifelong sentences, even though research has repeatedly shown that extreme sentences do not result in safer communities. Extreme sentencing disproportionately impacts Black and Brown people, who research has shown time and again, consistently get harsher sentences than white Virginians for the same crime.

A Second Look law would allow people with unnecessarily long sentences to petition the Court for resentencing after serving 10 to 15 years in prison, depending on the age they were originally sentenced. These numbers are based on scientific analyses which show that most people "age out" of crime. By the time a person has been incarcerated for 10-15 years – especially those who were convicted at an early age – they have matured significantly, and many are ready to make positive contributions to their communities. Plus, a Second Look law would provide an incentive to people who've received extremely long sentences to take accountability and focus on rehabilitation during their period of incarceration.

A Second Look law doesn’t only give people who are incarcerated hope and an incentive to rehabilitate. Adopting a Second Look law also empowers judges to correct unfair sentences from decades ago. Second Look also empowers the Court to determine if an extended sentence is still appropriate given a petitioner's accomplishments, behavior, and rehabilitative progress while incarcerated, while also considering input from designated stakeholders A Second Look law can safely reduce the number of individuals serving excessive, counterproductive sentences, save the taxpayers millions of dollars, and turn the tide of mass incarceration. Please vote yes for a Second Look law.

Sincerely,

[First Name] [Last Name]

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