While debate over local criminal justice continues, voters won’t have much say on top law enforcement jobs this fall
Last Tuesday’s primary election day was also deadline day: the last opportunity for candidates to file paperwork to run for local constitutional offices — such as sheriff and commonwealths’ attorney — that will appear on this November’s ballot. Aside from the incumbents, however, no one else did, meaning Commonwealth’s Attorney Marsha Garst and Sheriff Bryan Hutcheson, both Republicans, will be unopposed in their reelection campaigns once again and are all but assured of serving again until 2023.
The number of people sent to jail has outpaced a 2014 forecast. The local jail population peaked well over 600 last year, seven years earlier than predicted in the 2014 community-based corrections plan. And no one can agree on why.
As some in Harrisonburg call for criminal justice reforms, debate over a fee in local jails has opened up wider conversations about how best to help those caught up in the legal system.