The fight against presumptions against bail

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After a long fight, the General Assembly ended presumptions against bail in Virginia in the 2021 legislative session. The Pretrial Justice Coalition, which we helped found in 2018, had been advocating for this reform for years , and it was a massive victory for Virginians impacted by the criminal justice system in the past, present or future.

Then, a few weeks ago, an article spreading misinformation about the impacts of the repeal of the law appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The author relied almost solely on the voices of local law enforcement and Commonwealth prosecutors and made a number of incorrect statements about the end of presumptions against bail in Virginia. We have responded, both to the newspaper’s editor directly and publicly in a letter to the editor which you can read here. Soon, articles on the matter also began to appear in other publications.

Shortly thereafter, we learned that Governor Youngkin planned to propose an amendment to the 2022-2024 state budget that would bring back presumptions against bail. The Pre-Trial Justice Coalition immediately mobilized, working directly with lawmakers to fight the amendment and creating a social media blitz that led to hundreds of people contacting elected officials. Fortunately, the amendment failed in the Senate. We would like to thank everyone who has championed this important issue, including Senator Deeds who sponsored the original legislation that removed presumptions in 2021.

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