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Letter: Virginia needs sentencing reform

Editor, Gazette-Journal:

Mandatory minimums for non-violent drug offenses are unreasonably high. These outdated sentencing laws need to be abolished.

Countless families are needlessly suffering due to these unjust sentences handed down by judges obligated to follow Virginia law. With these laws in place, for instance, our local circuit courts may have an offender who is charged and found guilty of a third offense for distribution of a Schedule I or II drug. In this instance, the actual charge at hand involves $100 or less. The offender allegedly sold a confidential informant a relatively small amount. Sadly, this low-level, non-violent felony carries a sentence of 10 years to life. Now, let’s say this offender is convicted for four repeated sales over a short period of time, possibly a week, to the same C.I. This multiplies that 10-year mandatory minimum by four, totaling 40 years of active incarceration, at a minimum!

This overly strict sentence is onerous, creating a huge bu...

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