Advocacy Group Urges Northam to Generously Use Pardon Power

Ralph Northam

A criminal justice reform advocacy group is urging Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to use his pardon power generously before leaving office at the end of his term in January.

Families Against Mandatory Minimums, which works to repeal mandatory minimum sentencing laws nationally, wrote a letter to Northam and asked him to grant full or partial clemency to deserving inmates who have reformed while in prison and for those who were given excessive sentences for their crimes.

A Virginia law from the 1990s prohibiting discretionary parole limits options for felons who received harsh penalties, leaving a pardon as one of the only options remaining. The state also has various mandatory minimum sentences on the books, which require a certain length of incarcerated time for specific crimes.

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