Wise County commonwealth’s attorney concerned about Gov. Northam’s ‘radical’ criminal justice reform agenda


Chuck Slemp, commonwealth’s attorney for Wise County and the City of Norton (Photo: Contributed)

WISE, Va. (WJHL) — Chuck Slemp, the commonwealth’s attorney for Wise County and City of Norton, says he is concerned by Gov. Ralph Northam’s proposed criminal justice reforms.

Northam unveiled his agenda on Friday, which includes marijuana decriminalization, parole reform, lowering the penalties for those caught stealing smaller-dollar items, and reducing the number of Virginians with suspended driver’s licenses.

Slemp issued a statement Friday evening in response to Northam’s proposals, labeling the governor’s agenda as “radical.”

“I am deeply concerned by many of the proposals outlined in Governor Northam’s radical legislative agenda announced today. Virginia is one of the safest states in the nation.  Yet, our Governor has made clear that he wishes to see violent criminals released from incarceration early and to disarm law abiding citizens by restricting their constitutional rights.  This plan will serve to ignore the voices of victims, undermine the efforts of law enforcement, and risk the safety of all citizens across the Commonwealth.  It is regrettable that the Governor wishes to impress his friends in California and New York rather than heal the wounds he is causing in Virginia.”  

Regarding the calls to reinstate parole, Slemp said: “I am deeply troubled that Virginia might regress backwards into the primitive and failed parole system that was rejected soundly in 1995.  Parole is a way of lying to citizens about how much time criminals will spend in Richmond, while allowing bureaucrats to slash sentences as much as 75% and, thus, making the voice of citizen-jurors meaningless.  Any victim of crime forewarned that if parole is reinstated the person who harmed them will not serve the time he is sentenced to by a court.” 

Commonwealth’s Attorney Chuck Slemp

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