The following statement can be attributed to Vishal Agraharkar, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Virginia.
“We are disappointed by the court’s decision today, which narrows the applicability of the expanded earned sentence credit program passed by the General Assembly in 2020. Virginia lawmakers gave incarcerated people greater incentive to pursue rehabilitation, but those incentives have now been eliminated for people with certain convictions.
“Like hundreds of other people incarcerated in Virginia, Mr. Anderson thought he had already earned his release. VDOC promised his family that they would be reunited in time to take his daughter to college.
“But VDOC reneged on its promise this summer when it incorrectly interpreted Governor Youngkin’s budget amendment as retroactive. Even though the budget amendment was adopted as part of a forward-looking Budget Bill directing the Commonwealth’s appropriation of funds from July 1, 2022, until June 30, 2024, VDOC elected to apply it retroactively – meaning that the hard work people like Mr. Anderson did in prison wouldn’t be recognized.
“It is a shame that VDOC undermined Virginia lawmakers’ vision this summer when it chose to exclude Mr. Anderson from earning expanded sentence credits, and it’s a shame today that the court has decided to extend his incarceration further.
“We intend to appeal this decision to the Virginia Supreme Court. Mr. Anderson and others in his situation deserve to have this issue decided by the highest court in our Commonwealth.”