Va. gov: Panel to study criminal justice reforms, parole

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe says he’s forming a commission to study potential criminal justice reforms and whether Virginia’s parole abolition in the 1990s has been good for the state. McAuliffe said Wednesday on a monthly radio show that the commission will study whether Virginia is holding prisoners unnecessarily long and whether it’s doing enough to rehabilitate criminals. McAuliffe said the goal is to make sure Virginia is incarcerating people in the most cost-effective manner. He said the state spends more than $830 million annually to house more than 30,000 inmates. Former Republican Gov. George Allen and the legislature abolished parole in 1995. McAuliffe’s announcement comes a day after he announced policy changes making it easier for ex-felons to reclaim the right to vote, serve on juries and hold public office.

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