Tag: criminal justice
While the rate of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County residents incarcerated at the local jail and Middle River Regional Jail has remained fairly flat since 2014, the city is having to cover the cost of more state inmates who have no connection to this community but are being housed at the regional jail.
As communities across the nation began more closely scrutinizing their police departments last year, so too is the city school district reevaluating Harrisonburg’s SROs – whether they should stay in the schools and, if so, what their roles and responsibilities should be. The officers — and data regarding incidents at schools — offer a glimpse into how Harrisonburg’s program operates.
People reported fewer crimes overall in Harrisonburg over the last year. And fewer defendants stayed in jail as they awaited trial. At the same time, though, many of those trials have been delayed, forcing the courts to put in overtime in order to catch up on the backlog of cases. Harrisonburg and Rockingham County’s criminal justice system — like many facets of life — has operated a little differently since the pandemic began, in some cases prompting prosecutors and judges to adapt and make exceptions they wouldn’t normally do.
As the Rockingham County supervisors prepare to hear Middle River Regional Jail’s pitch for a $40 million expansion, the supervisors signaled that they’ll be a more receptive audience than some of the other local government bodies that fund the jail.
A pandemic and protests have ramped up interest in city budgeting. Here’s The Citizen’s guide to Hburg’s spending
Continue with the plan for building a second high school? Reduce funding for the police department? The combination of the pandemic’s economic ripple effects and calls for social change out of this summer’s protests have sparked questions and deep-seated opinions about how the city of Harrisonburg spends its money. Residents have been bringing up budget issues in city council meetings, at rallies for racial justice and on social media.
Decriminalization of marijuana possession won’t necessarily affect those already caught up in the system
Simple possession of an ounce or less of marijuana is set to be decriminalized in Virginia on July 1. But that won’t prevent Harrisonburg resident Christopher Jones, a cook at O’Neill’s Grill, from being sent to jail later that month if it’s what the prosecutor seeks.
Starting March 9, Harrisonburg and Rockingham County will have a criminal justice planner, an addition to the court system for which local justice advocates have long been campaigning.
And so it begins. Hopes for and speculation about the future abound, as does list-making for a fresh year. As we set off for the next 12 months, get ready for plenty of “20/20 vision” references. In that spirit, here are 20 questions (in no particular order) for 2020 that address issues that will likely shape Harrisonburg for the next decade and beyond.