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Youngkin promised a new parole board. How quickly can he move on it?

On the campaign trail, Republican candidate for governor Glenn Youngkin promised that if elected he would fire all five members of the Parole Board and appoint a new board. This was in the wake of several controversies with early release.

Virginia legal expert Rich Kelsey says he expects the new Parole Board to take a different perspective. "Lately, this parole board has been looking at how long has this prisoner been incarcerated and how old are they? I think there's been less looking at the types of crimes,: Kelsey says. "And I think we're going to go back to where you're going to see the parole board putting an emphasis on the type of crime that was committed rather than the length of incarceration."

Former Governor George Allen abolished parole back in the 1990s, and so Virginia's parole board hears only old cases with very old inmates.

Brad Haywood at Justice Forward Virginia says sticking it to inmates over the age of 50 for some kind of retribution won't help anybody. "We're going to keep racking up these major financial costs for unnecessary incarceration, and we're not going to start adopting the new paradigm that we need to get away from the traditional model of arrest, prosecution and imprisonment to solve all of our perceived social problems."

Don't expect this to be on the day one agenda for Youngkin. He'll need to get all five of the new parole board members approved by the General Assembly.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.