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Sentencing Disparity in Virginia
A Call for Equal Justice!
"Greater awareness of sentencing disparities that will ultimately lead to the discontinuation of such practices and more equitable sentencing within in Virginia's Judicial system." --Sentence Disparity in Virginia

"The problem of racial disparity plagues the criminal justice systems of many states and the federal government."   -- J.P.I. Nov 2013 Report Virginia's Justice System:  Expensive, Ineffective & Unfair

 Disparities in Prosecution & Sentencing for Racial Minorities - The Virginia Prisoner Project


Do you have or know someone prosecuted & sentenced more harshly and/or received more punitive sentence than a similarly criminal/crime situated case due to their race (Black/Hispanic -vs.- White) or sexual orientation (female -vs.- male)? Was the sentence outside the Sentencing Guideline, and/or a first time offender? Sentences well beyond the  State Sentencing Guidelines recommendation.  See below examples.  We want to know, hear your story and if possible for you to participate in an upcoming documentary. 

Example 1:  Black male, first time offender, found guilty for marijuana with intent; recommended "alternative sentence" or up to one (1) year and six (6) months, yet received a sentence of "36 years!"

Example 2:  Black male, under age 21, first time offender, found guilty of accessory to malicious wounding, recommended sentence 25 years, yet received a sentence of "Two (2) Life plus "30 years!

Example 3:  Black male, age 24, first time offender, found guilty of robbery and project exile gun possession, recommended sentence Three (3) years to Eight (8) years, yet received a sentence of "one hundred twenty seven years (127)! ###

            Click below and return completed form to:


PO Box 55 - Highland Springs - VA 23075

   RIHD Form Sentence Disparity.doc

Lillie (Ms. K) @ January, 2012 - VPA Conference

Support the Sentence Disparity Project through financial/in-kind, volunteers, pro-bono assistance, community service, law students, interns, office assistance, researchers.  For additional information contact the project coordinators below. 

To make a monetary donation, make payable to RIHD/Sentence Disparity Project - PO Box 55 - Highland Springs - Virginia 23075.  Donations $25 or more are tax-deductible to you per IRS 501 (c)3 Rules.

Thank you in advance.

Project Coordinators:

Janet (Queen Nzinga) Taylor

Prisoner & Family for Equal Rights & Justice (PAFERJ)


Lillie (Ms. K) Branch-Kennedy

Resource Information Help for the Disadvantaged (RIHD)




   The Injustice of Five Years of

Unfair Jury Trials In Virginia Remains Uncorrected

In 1994 the Virginia General Assembly passed laws abolishing parole for all persons convicted of non-violent and violent crimes committed on or after January 1, 1995, allowing only for geriatric release for certain class of offenders over the age of sixty or sixty-five. When these laws came into effect in 1995, the court rules at the time prohibited judges from instructing juries in non-capital cases that the offender would not be entitled to parole if sentenced to a term of incarceration, even in cases where the jury requests to know whether the offender would be entitled to parole. As a result, juries who sentenced offenders in the months and years following the abolition of parole were not instructed by judges that sentences under the erroneous impression that only a fraction of the sentence would be served by the offender. It was not until June 2000, in the case of Fishback v. Commonwealth, 260 Va. 104, 532 S.E. 2d 629 (200), that Virginia Supreme Court ruled that judges must instruct jurors in all non-capital cases that parole has been abolished. In reaching it's decision, the Supreme Court confirmed what had long been obvious to observers of Virginia criminal justice system: that instructing juries who will impose sentence that parole has been abolished would ensure a fair trial for both the offender and the Commonwealth. Sadly, however, the Supreme Court declined to make it's Fishback ruling retroactive, meaning that those offenders whose convictions had become final before the ruling would not be entitled to a new sentencing by a jury that is properly instructed on would not be entitled to a new sentencing by a jury that is properly instructed on the abolition of parole. ###

Click below and return completed form to:


PO Box 55 - Highland Springs - VA 23075

 RIHD Form Unfair Jury Trials.doc


The Community Restoration Campaign (CRC)
Supports the Sentence Disparity Campaign

 for "Common Sense Prison Reform" In Virginia


Question?  How is CRC connected to the the sentence disparity and unfair jury trial initiatives?

Answer:  Proposed legislation with CRC are prisoner earned "good time"with the additional "sentence credit" to reduce prisoners sentenced/incarcerated on or after January 1, 1995 and/or the reinstatement of parole with 65%. Prisoners would be eligible to earn a total of 14.5 days for every 30 days sentence.   For prisoners under the "old law" parole eligible, the CRC will help strengthen support for fair and consistent parole board decisions. This is alternative/in addition to resolution to filing an immediate class action.  The goal is achieve a 50%/65% sentence reduction for Virginia prisoners.  It's important that prisoners and their family be proactive in the listed below ways: 

Click on the below web page and/or hyperlink:


 Suggested Readings & Resources


Prison-to-Poverty Cycle A New Jim Crow


Spring/Summer 2010 Issue/Page 6

Virginia Defenders Newspaper- "Prisoner advocacy groups target sentencing disparity"

(Virginia Prisoner Sentence Disparity Project) 


Reducing Racial Disparity in the Criminal Justice Systems:


Racial Disparity State


Law Should Address Racial Disparity in the Legal System