While the local jail population continues to grow, the record-keeping systems used by law enforcement, the courts and other pieces of the local criminal justice system remain stuck in the past, complicating efforts to understand what’s driving that population growth or to begin addressing it. Within a year, however, new insight into local criminal justice trends could be coming from two different sources.
On a Friday afternoon, six members of the James Madison University Overwatch team gather around a TV screen, watching tape from a “scrim session” – gamerspeak for scrimmage – earlier in the week. “Look where we are right now. We’re really far back,” says Mark “Sanity” Johnson, the team captain, pointing at the screen. “We should be here right now.”
While some say different circumstances call for different outcomes, a bill now moving through the General Assembly would create a mandatory prison sentence for certain kinds of threats made against schools in Virginia. Though the law is a response to the increase in threats made against schools in parts of Virginia, local school administrators say they have not seen an increase in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.
Weeks after the government shutdowns ended, food banks and pantries in Harrisonburg are bracing for a spike in demand this month to respond to what’s called “the S.N.A.P. gap.” This “gap” is another ripple effect from the 35-day federal government shutdown that ended Jan. 26.
The Harrisonburg City Council once again postponed completing its appointments to the Harrisonburg Electric Commission by filling only one of two spots at Tuesday’s meeting, but it did unanimously approve a one-year pilot program to regulate sharable scooters and bikes. City Attorney Chris Brown presented the one-year “pilot project” for the permitting of Bird and Lime-S electric scooters that have flooded the city since last fall.