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Criminal reform needed

To the editor:

My name is Marvin Jacobs, and I’m a returning citizen living in Suffolk. I’m a leader in the Virginia Organizing Suffolk chapter. I have a question for local and state officials. Am I being discriminated against, along with thousands of Virginians? This is the problem.

Charges that are dismissed or not prosecuted or acquitted. Those charges should not show up on your record. Those charges have been adjudicated, but they keep coming back.

Once an officer runs your name in the system, the officer uses that as proper cause as a way to antagonize or judge you to some previous dismissal, not-prosecuted charge or acquittal that’s on their record, that shows up on a background check.

Once before a judge, if you are innocent or guilty he is using these same arrests that were dismissed, not prosecuted or acquitted to formulate his decision.

Once in the criminal justice system, those same arrests that have been dismissed, not prosecuted and acquitted create bias towards you from your case manager, unit manager and a biased custody classification form.

Upon release, the probation officer uses these same not-prosecuted, dismissal and acquittal arrests and charges. They use to decide how strict they will be with you.

While in transition to the community applying for a job, the system uses these past arrests that were not prosecuted, dismissed and acquitted against you to discriminate.

The federal government is taking these same charges that have been resolved and now punishing you a twice time called enhancements.

If society show one of three African Americans has an arrest on him based on dismissal, not prosecuted or acquittal, that will show the time when encounter with law enforcement to be bias.

This practice has to cease to exist. This started out as a racism idea to oppress African Americans and brown people. This comes out of the new Jim Crow book. These old practices are directly affecting African Americans and brown people. How can a returning citizen or a citizen that had a run-in with the cops move forward when our criminal justice system punishing you based on your past? This is what got those officers in the George Floyd case to treat him in the manner that he was this bad criminal and he wasn’t. We are asking senators, delegates, congressmen and the House of Representatives for criminal and police reform. U.S. Sens Tim Kaine and Mark Warner need to hear from us.

Marvin Jacobs

Suffolk