Hampton Roads / Local / Politics / Virginia

Weekends-only jail time: a no-no for felons

In an opinion last month (pdf), Attorney General Ken Cucinelli concluded that weekend-only sentences are not available for those convicted of a felony. The opinion was requested by Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney Harvey Bryant, by way of Sheriff (and former state senator) Ken Stolle. According to this article, the ruling affects 229 people statewide.

The judges in Virginia Beach, where 29 such felons are serving weekends-only sentences, issued an order staying the implementation of the law by 60 days. Eighteen of the 29 will have completed their sentences by that time, leaving 11 to serve their time the usual way: 24/7 lockup.

There seems to be an obvious answer to the problem here: why aren’t those affected eligible for a re-sentencing hearing? I know the dockets of the courts are full, but couldn’t they take one day and hear all 11 cases and re-sentence these folks? Wouldn’t that be a fair way of handling things?

4 thoughts on “Weekends-only jail time: a no-no for felons

  1. It seems to me that if these people can be trusted to be out in the world during the week, then the weekend jail time is merely punishment, not protecting the people. Thus, there should be some more useful punishment than jail time.

  2. The kid who was highlighted struck me as the exact type of person for whom this program would be designed. He apparently did bad 8 years ago, at 17. He is serving now for a probation violation, stupid action, but who hasn’t made bad decisions.

    He is now trying to get, and seeming to get, his act together. Who is hurt by the AG’s decision? This kid and those like him. If the AG wants this action in force, then it should be “from now on” and let those operating under a different system complete the terms of punishment as they are under now.

    Just another bleeding heart liberal, I guess.

  3. It does seem odd to go back and apply the new rule to those already serving. I have to say I don’t think part-timejail sentences are particularly appropriate for felons. If you think the guy can be trusted to be out of jail all week, then probably you should have found something other than a felony to charge him with. And @Narceleb..punishment is part of what prison sentences are for.

    • Yes, but not a very reasonable part. There are better, less expensive ways to punish. Prison should be for those who cannot be trusted to be out.

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