Tell Lawmakers Everyone Deserves a Second Chance

Act Now

We all deserve a second chance – but in Virginia, it’s hard to get one.

Virginia has the 17th highest imprisonment rate in the country and spends $1.4 billion dollars annually to keep people in prison. Locking people up and throwing away the key devastates families, and it deprives communities of all the good that people can do when given a chance.

It’s time for a Second Look Law that would allow people with unnecessarily long sentences to petition the court for resentencing. Research has shown repeatedly that longer sentences don’t make Virginia any safer. But incentivizing rehabilitation does.

Every holiday season, the criminal legal system keeps too many families apart. Second Look legislation would give whole families a second chance by reuniting people who do the hard work of rehabilitation with their loved ones.

Virginia needs a Second Look Law. Tell your lawmakers that reuniting families could save lives and millions of taxpayer dollars.

Let’s make sure that more families can spend next holiday season together.

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 incentivize people who’ve received extremely long sentences to take accountability and focus on rehabilitation during their period of incarceration, all while saving Virginia millions of taxpayer dollars.

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. 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. This legislative session, Virginia needs a Second Look law.


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