Some disappointed by Virginia’s criminal justice reform push

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FILE – In this Jan. 8, 2020 file photo, House Republicans sit in their seats as Democratic lawmakers applaud Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam as he delivers his State of the Commonwealth address before a joint session of the Assembly at the state Capitol in Richmond, Va. Some criminal justice activists are disappointed by the number of reform proposals that have stalled in Virginia’s legislature this year, despite a new Democratic majority. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Some criminal justice activists are disappointed by the number of reform proposals that have stalled in Virginia’s legislature this year, despite a new Democratic majority.

Proposals to end solitary confinement, reinstate parole and make it easier to expunge criminal records been put off until next year or sent to a crime commission for study. But Democratic leaders note that multiple reforms have advanced or passed in just the first month of the legislative session.

Those include decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, raising the felony larceny threshold from $500 to $1,000 and allowing defendants to choose sentencing by a judge instead of a jury.

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