Legislation Repealing Mandatory Minimum Sentences Introduced in Virginia
Mike Mullin pushes for key criminal justice reform legislation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 22nd, 2020
Contact: Georgia Allin
RICHMOND, VA—Delegate Mike Mullin (D-Newport News) announced today that he has introduced HB 2331 to repeal mandatory minimum sentences. This legislation stems from a recommendation by the Virginia State Crime Commission.
“With HB 2331, we are taking a significant step forward in the effort to dismantle the painful and ineffective system of criminal justice policies established during the ‘war on drugs.’ These policies have contributed to our country’s epidemic of mass incarceration,” said Delegate Mullin. “We can, and should, build a fairer criminal justice system.”
Mandatory minimum sentencing was initially implemented in Virginia and in other states as a crime deterrent, but to date there is no evidence supporting its effectiveness. Instead, our criminal justice system has seen a breakdown of checks and balances, requiring judges to apply a one-size-fits-all approach when handling sentencing. Mandatory minimums are associated with the growing costs of incarceration; it costs the Commonwealth an average of $87.20 per day to keep someone incarcerated. In addition to the monetary costs, mandatory minimums have social costs. This policy has disproportionately harmed communities of color. A 2020 report from the Department of Corrections found that Black inmates carry more mandatory minimum sentences than their white counterparts.
“As a prosecutor who’s worked in our justice system for over a decade, I’ve seen time and time again how mandatory minimums do more harm than good,” said Delegate Mullin. “We’ve made so much progress in reforming our justice system over the last year and this bill is a critical piece in this ongoing effort.”
Delegate Mullin serves the 93rd District which includes the City of Williamsburg and parts of Newport News, James City County, and York County. He serves on the House Courts of Justice Committee, as well as the Labor and Commerce and Rules Committees in the House of Delegates. He has worked as a prosecutor for more than a decade and handled cases involving domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. Since his election in 2016, Delegate Mullin has helped pass a number of criminal justice reform bills, including legislation to help end the school-to-prison pipeline.