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Suit Claims VA Parole Board Unfairly Denies Release

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By Rebecca Blatt

Attorneys for 11 inmates in Virginia say the state's parole board is unfairly denying parole in thousands of cases, and they're asking a court to step in.

Virginia abolished parole in 1995. Before that, judges often sentenced people to lengthy prison terms with the understanding that they would be eligible for release after serving as little as a quarter of the sentence.

There are more than 6,000 inmates in Virginia who were sentenced before 1995 and are eligible for parole. The suit claims many are being unfairly denied release. The attorneys who filed the suit want the court to order the parole board to issue rules to ensure fair and meaningful consideration of parole in those cases.

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