RICHMOND, Va. — Reports from the University of Virginia School of Law say a tool meant to divert “low risk” offenders from prison to ensure room for violent repeat offenders hasn’t diverted thousands of people.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch says the findings will be presented Monday to the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission. The reports from the school’s Virginia Criminal Justice Policy Reform Project focus on the Virginia’s Nonviolent Risk Assessment questionnaire; one examines how it works and the other looks at how judges across the state view the tool.
UVa law professor Brandon L. Garrett says the reports found many “low risk” people aren’t receiving alternative sentences, such as substance abuse treatment or probation. He says the reports also found large inconsistencies between judges and courts as many judges don’t consider low risk when sentencing.
Information from: Richmond Times-Dispatch, http://www.richmond.com