While serving in the General Assembly, Jenn has seen the impacts of the justice system on her constituents. Virginia’s justice system has disproportionately affected communities of color and individuals with disabilities, criminalized childhood behavior, poverty and mental health conditions, and failed to provide all defendants with fair trials. The justice system has focused more on punishment and incarceration than prevention and rehabilitation and doled out punishments that are disproportionate to crimes. That’s why Jenn is committed to transforming justice throughout the Commonwealth to create a generational cycle of restoration and re-entry rather than one of inequity.
In the legislature, Jenn has been a leading and consistent champion of reforming the justice system to be truly just.
Over the past 15 years, Jenn:
- Passed bills to break the school-to-prison pipeline
- Cosponsored and helped to pass a sweeping police reform bill to require de-escalation attempts before use of force, require reporting of use of force incidents, and ban chokeholds, strangleholds and no-knock warrants
- Served as a key member of the Caucus subcommittee that ushered in legislation to end “no knock” warrants, ban chokeholds, and require more accountability from law enforcement officers and agencies
- Cosponsored the bill that abolished the death penalty in Virginia
- Patroned and cosponsored bills to reduce the criminalization of low-level offenses, including increasing the felony larceny threshold; repealing the Habitual Offender Act; and decriminalizing HIV status
- Passed legislation to make hundreds of Virginians eligible for parole
- Passed a resolution to examine the impacts of Virginia’s marijuana laws, which paved the way for enacting just marijuana policy. Introduced the amendment to move the timeline for marijuana legalization from 2024 to July 1, 2021
- Passed a landmark justice reform bill that will make the criminal justice system more equitable for individuals with mental illness, autism, or developmental/intellectual disabilities by allowing evidence of their conditions to be presented during hearings
- Cosponsored legislation reforming Virginia’s bail and sentencing laws
- Passed a law to strengthen Virginia’s Delinquency Prevention and Youth Development Act (DPYDA), providing prevention services for at-risk youth before they enter the juvenile justice system.