COVID-19 early release program for Virginia incarcerated persons to end July 1
As the coronavirus pandemic raged over the past year, Virginia prison officials released more than 2,100 inmates early to try to control the spread of the virus by reducing the prison population. That practice will end on July 1, the Department of Corrections announced Wednesday.
Virginia, with 2nd-most executions, outlaws death penalty
Republicans argued that the death penalty should remain a sentencing option for especially heinous crimes and to bring justice to victims and their families. In addition to the 23 states that have now abolished the death penalty, three others have moratoriums in place that were imposed by their governors. Jason Miyares, a death penalty supporter, expressed disappointment in the new law. AdRobert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, and a death penalty opponent, said abolishing executions in Virginia could mark the beginning of the end for capital punishment in the South, where the highest number of prisoners are put to death. It is the moral thing to do — to end the death penalty in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” he said.
Lynchburg man convicted of killing 15-year-old to be released on parole
LYNCHBURG, Va. – A Lynchburg family was notified by the Virginia Department of Corrections about the release date of their relative’s murderer this week. Bethany Harrison, the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Lynchburg, announced Gregory Joyner’s release date on Friday and said that she stands with the family in opposition to his release. Joyner’s release comes 32 years after he was convicted by a jury on April 5, 1989, for the first-degree murder and attempted rape of 15-year-old Sarah Jamison. Joyner will not be allowed to travel to Lynchburg as part of his parole supervision, and according to the release if he is seen in the Lynchburg area this can be reported to the Lynchburg Commonwealth’s attorney office. Here’s what Harrison had to say about Joyner’s release:
Investigation underway after man serving a life sentence for killing a Roanoke County woman dies
ROANOKE, Va. – The Virginia Department of Corrections is investigating the death of one of its inmates who was serving a life sentence. Jeffrey Easley died on Monday while at Twin County Regional Hospital in Galax, Virginia, according to the Virginia Department of Corrections. In December 2010 in Roanoke County, Easley killed Tina Smith and kidnapped her then 12-year-old daughter, leading State Police to issue an Amber Alert. On Feb. 28, 2012, he pleaded no contest to the capital murder charge against him and received a life sentence. Easley was an inmate at River North Correctional Center in Independence, Virginia, prior to his death.
More than 13,000 Virginia inmates, 6,000 staff members receive COVID-19 vaccine
Virginia is working to keep all of its residents safe. The Virginia Department of Corrections (DOC) has vaccinated more than 50% of its inmates, according to a news release from the department. The average daily inmate population as of January was 23,811, and the department reported that more than 13,000 inmates and 6,000 staff members have received their first of two Moderna shots. The DOC medical staff worked with the Virginia Department of Health to implement CDC guidelines and have also started an education campaign to inform inmates about the vaccine. “Vaccinating DOC staff and inmates makes the whole community safer,” said Virginia Department of Corrections Director Harold Clarke.
Virginia House joins Senate in voting to end death penalty
Democratic Sen. Scott Surovell is again sponsoring a bill that would abolish the death penalty, and he has a Republican chief co-patron. (Virginia Department of Corrections via AP, File)RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia moved another step closer to ending capital punishment on Friday when the state House joined the Senate in voting to abolish the death penalty. It's a dramatic shift for Virginia, which has put more people to death over its centuries-long history than any other state. In modern times, Virginia trails only Texas in the number of executions since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. AdLast year, death penalty abolition bills in the General Assembly went nowhere.
31 prison inmates with coronavirus have died in Virginia
RICHMOND, Va. – Figures from the Virginia Department of Corrections show that 31 prison inmates with COVID-19 have died since the start of the pandemic. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Tuesday that the highest toll has been at the Deerfield Correctional Center. It’s home to many geriatric prisoners and prisoners with chronic health problems. The state has reported that 17 of its inmates have died. The Virginia Department of Corrections said it is following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and the Virginia Department of Health.
Virginia inmate dies in apparent attack by cellmate
WISE COUNTY, Va. – An inmate in a Virginia supermax prison is dead after an apparent attack by his cellmate on Friday, according to the Virginia Department of Corrections. VDOC announced Friday night that a 47-year-old inmate was pronounced dead at Dickenson Community Hospital after an apparent attack by his 54-year-old cellmate in Red Onion State Prison in Wise County. The man who died was in general population, according to the VDOC. He was serving a life sentence without parole for first-degree murder. The inmate suspect of killing his cellmate is serving a life sentence for first-degree murder, second-degree murder, carjacking and robbery.