The ACLU of Virginia is committed to helping the Commonwealth re-envision a criminal legal system that is fair, free of racial bias, keeps our communities safe, promotes second chances, and respects the rights of all who come into contact with it. 
 
Because of the “War on Drugs” and the “tough on crime” policies of the 1980s and 1990s, Virginia’s prisons and jails witnessed tremendous growth. Our correctional facilities are bursting at the seams with nonviolent offenders, people with mental illness, people who are older, children charged as adults, and people with substance use disorder in need of treatment. 
 
Fortunately, policy makers have begun to realize the widespread harm that overincarceration has inflicted on our communities.  The ACLU of Virginia collaborates with conservatives and progressives alike to push for thoughtful policies that reform what happens behind bars while putting less people there in the first place.
 
We are working to reform our criminal justice system by advocating for the end of the War on Drugs, the elimination of archaic sentencing laws, better conditions and accountability mechanisms for what happens behind bars, and identifying alternatives to the harsh penal system. 
 
Did you know?
Since 1970, there has been a 735% increase in Virginia’s prison population.
A December 2015 poll conducted by Prison Fellowship and the Charles Koch Institute found that 75% of Virginians believe that prisons ought to prioritize rehabilitation, and 72% of Virginians believe judges should have more freedom to use forms of punishment other than prison.