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Earley Tapped To Chair Commission On Parole Abolition

© Leesburg Today - 06/26/2015

Gov. Terry McAuliffe has chosen Leesburg lawyer and former Virginia Attorney General Mark L. Earley as one of three co-chairmen of a commission that will study whether the state's abolition of parole has been successful.

Earley, who also has served as president and CEO of the world's largest outreach to prisoners and their families, Lansdowne-based Prison Fellowship, will lead the panel alongside Secretary of the Commonwealth Levar Stoney and Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran.

McAuliffe signed an executive order establishing the commission Wednesday during WTOP radio's ""Ask the Governor"" show.

""Twenty years after this commonwealth banned parole, I believe it is appropriate to examine that policy to determine if it's the best, most cost-effective way to keep people safe,"" McAuliffe said in a prepared statement.

He said that Virginia has 30,369 inmates incarcerated in state correctional facilities, at an average cost of $27,462 per inmate, per year. That makes for an annual cost of more than $833 million.

""I believe we owe it to Virginians to consider new ideas for keeping people safe, rehabilitating offenders and spending every single taxpayer dollar as wisely as possible,"" the Democrat said.

The Parole Review and Update Commission is slated to consider ""evidence-based"" approaches to public safety and proper rehabilitation of offenders to prepare them to re-enter communities as productive citizens, the governor's office said.

The abolition of parole in 1994 was a landmark accomplishment of then-Gov. George Allen. Earley, like Allen a Republican, was one of the co-patrons of the ""truth-in-sentencing"" legislation when he was a state senator.

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