HD30 - Improvements to the Criminal Justice System in Virginia

Executive Summary:
House Joint Resolution 242 directed the Crime Commission to continue to fine tune and prioritize the preliminary recommendations put forth by the House Joint Resolution 523 study committee of the Crime Commission. The final product of the study extension was to produce a comprehensive plan to improve Virginia's criminal justice system. Six main areas of study emphasis were noted:

• improvement of delivery of services efficiently to offenders;

• promote interventions with youthful offenders;

• identify strategies to reduce recidivism;

• increase the availability of community correctional programs;

• implement community policing strategies; and

• improve communications between the criminal justice agencies and with the public.

The Crime Commission staff identified four main areas for further development:

Information Management
Law Enforcement
Crime Prevention
Institutional and Community Corrections

The study groups established to work on these study topics represented various state and local criminal justice interests. Each of the four groups evaluated the preliminary recommendations of HJR 523 relative to their topical area of study and determined how to proceed. Additional recommendations were developed as well, based upon further discussions and recent legislative and policy changes.

The overall goal of development of a comprehensive plan for Virginia's criminal justice services and programs will be accomplished through two main strategies:

• A long range strategic plan for information management will be developed by 1997. This will be a collaborative effort through the Criminal Justice Information Systems Committee of the Board of Criminal Justice Services. A resolution to this effect will be a part of the 1995 legislative proposals of the Crime Commission. (See Appendix)

• The Crime Commission will be developing standards for programming and staffing for both institutional and community corrections.

Implementation of the full complement of the HJR 242 recommendations will provide an integral whole for an effective criminal justice system in Virginia. The recommendations serve as building blocks towards improving the system to meet the demands of the twenty-first century. The Crime Commission will need to continue to monitor the progress of implementation to insure that appropriate adjustments are made to meet new and unplanned changes in the criminal justice system as they occur.