The ACLU of Virginia filed Prease v. Clarke in the Virginia Supreme Court, challenging the continued incarceration of Steven Prease and demanding his immediate release from Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) custody. The petition for a writ of habeas corpus asserts that VDOC has improperly interpreted the law that expanded Virginia’s earned sentence credit program to deny Mr. Prease the increased credits.
Since 1995, the earned sentence credit program has made it possible for most people incarcerated in Virginia to earn early release. In 2020, Virginia’s General Assembly passed a law increasing how many credits people can earn. This expansion of the program was expected to impact thousands of people currently incarcerated.
Yet since June, VDOC has been improperly withholding earned sentence credits from people like Mr. Prease who are eligible to earn them. The law clearly states which offenses are eligible for the additional earned sentence credits, but VDOC is nonetheless withholding expanded sentence credits from people whose convictions are not listed among the excluded crimes.