Criminal Justice Reform Update

From Lida Shepherd, American Friends Service Committee – WV Economic Justice Project

Please mark your calendar for 2.22.22 to join us at the WV State Capitol for Smart Justice Advocacy Day.  Hopefully it can be in-person though we are keeping a close eye on omicron.  Thanks to many of you who participated in Smart Justice virtual learning series, story-telling training, and advocacy day at the Capitol during December legislative interims hosted by the WV Criminal Law Reform Coalition.  Coalition partners presented to the Joint Judiciary Committee, held dozens of in-person meetings with legislators, plus Autumn McCraw and Kenny Matthews led an incredible press conference.  With your help, Smart Justice Advocacy Day 2.22.22 will be even bigger! 

Click here to view and share the Smart Justice Policy Platform 2022.   And also check out (and share!) this recent report from the WV Center on Budget and Policy “Improving Community Supervision to Safely Reduce Incarceration in WV,” which includes key policy recommendations.

Bills the coalition is supporting that have been introduced to date:

  • SB 425Providing free menstrual products for people incarcerated (read more here
  • HB 4354  – “Ban the Box Act” (read more here)
  • SB 488 –  Restoring voting rights for people on probation and parole

Bill that is moving which we oppose:

HB 2184 – “adding new penalties for exposure of governmental representatives to fentanyl, or to any other harmful drug or chemical agent.” Helpful overview in Gazette-Mail where drug experts weigh in on how this bill is based entirely on misinformation.  The bill passed the House.  

A bevy of bad bills have been introduced, which we oppose
because they create additional criminal penalties or put more strain on incarcerated people and their families, including:

  • A massive sentencing rewrite (HB 4006), 
  • Extending supervision for people convicted of drug felonies (HB 2257), and 
  • Charging additional fees for people who post bail or bond (SB 29).

Upcoming Events of Interest:

Law & Mental Health Conference –  Feb 1st and 2nd

The Sentences that Create Us – Feb 1st 5pm ET

Young Gifted and Black Policy Event – Feb 10th at 7pm ET

Second Chances Symposium – Feb 17-18th

Smart Justice Advocacy: Virtual Learning Series Videos

Criminal Justice in WV: A Look Back and Look Ahead (Video link)

Reentry in WV (Video link)

Sentencing Reform in the Mountain State (Video link

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