People in Virginia who are arrested for and ultimately convicted of criminal offenses often want to understand the penalties they may face. In addition to the penalties, people should pay special attention to how they may rebuild their lives once they have served their sentences. For many, this can be made more difficult due to the laws that are in place. Today, many are calling for greater criminal justice reform in part to aid positive reintroductions for people being released from prisons.
Virginia Organizing notes that earlier this year, the State Senate passed a bill that takes a step forward in providing released inmates with a chance to get back on their feet in a positive way. A bill referred to as "Ban the Box" was passed. If it goes into law, it will prevent employers in Virginia from asking job applicants if they have any criminal histories on their first applications. This may allow more people to get further along in the job hiring process before a criminal past must be discussed, thereby increasing their chances of getting a job.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch highlighted that the federal government has recently passed a criminal justice act called The First Step Act. The name of this legislation should be kept in mind, the publication asserts, as many more steps are needed in order to truly be fair to those in the criminal justice system.
One recommendation is to find ways to expand criminal justice reform to state prisons and local jails, not simply to federal institutions.