Boldly Reforming our Criminal Justice System to Create a More Equitable Commonwealth

For too long, Virginia has embraced a “tough on crime” approach to criminal justice that has focused on punishment rather than rehabilitation and has been plagued by systemic racism and lack of funding This approach has led to the over-policing, over-criminalization and over-incarceration Black and Brown Virginians. 

As Virginia’s next Governor, Terry will once and for all deliver the criminal justice reforms necessary to create an equitable criminal justice system for all Virginians and one that is focused on second chances. He will invest resources in education, housing, and behavioral health services, ensuring Virginians have access to trained professionals to support them in these areas — and shifting resources away from military-style tactics and equipment.

He will continue to invest in key areas to professionalize law enforcement agencies and improve accountability – through training and accreditation, community policing, and increased community engagement like citizen review boards.

He will examine areas including pretrial incarceration, investing in prevention and re-entry services, making sure that addiction is treated like the health crisis it is, and breaking down barriers that prevent individuals with criminal records from being productive members of our society. 

As Virginia’s 72nd Governor, Terry championed criminal justice reform initiatives, issuing a record 227 pardons, protecting and funding critical re-entry programs and restoring the rights of 173,000 Virginians — more than any Governor in history. 

He also created mental health pilot programs in jails so that individuals who are incarcerated are screened and have access to services, established Virginia as a leader in its response to the opioid and addiction crisis, created specialized mental health units within the Department of Corrections, and funded mental health specialist positions in probation and parole offices.

He also transformed Virginia’s juvenile justice system — reducing the number of incarcerated youths in Virginia by nearly two-thirds, reinvesting the savings into community programs and services that use evidence-based alternatives to confinement, reducing crime, increasing public safety and enhancing outcomes for youth.

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