VIRGINIA BRIEFING

VIRGINIA BRIEFING

Friday, March 23, 2007

CRIME VICTIMS, LIBRARIES

Kaine Signs Bills Into Law

Computers in public libraries will be required to have Internet filters, and crime victims must be given time off from work to testify in court under two bills Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) signed into law.

The Internet legislation, meant to shield children from pornography and violent material, allows library employees to disable the filters for adults who are conducting research.

Kaine said yesterday that he also signed legislation to improve access to higher education for military members and their dependents.

-- Tim Craig

YOUTHS IN ADULT JAILS

Study Criticizes Tracking

Virginia's criminal justice system lacks adequate measures to track juveniles in adult prisons, making it difficult to assess how tough sentencing laws have affected young offenders, a study released this week found.

The study, titled "The Consequences Aren't Minor: the Impact of Trying Youth as Adults and Strategies for Reform," was conducted by the District-based Campaign for Youth Justice. It also found that 73 percent of juveniles sent to adult prisons in 2005 in Virginia were black, even though African Americans accounted for less than half of juvenile arrests that year. One in four juveniles in adult prisons had committed nonviolent crimes, the report found. State law allows criminal defendants as young as 14 to be tried as adults.

Lawmakers have directed the state's Crime Commission to study the juvenile justice system, including issues about juveniles in adult prisons.


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