New law allows inmates to work off fines, court costs


Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) delivers his State of the Commonwealth address on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020.

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — A new bill signed by Gov. Ralph Northam on Tuesday will allow inmates to pay off their debts through community work.

The bill — HB 277 — was sponsored by Del. Marcia Price whose districts include parts of Hampton and Newport News. The bill allows inmates to do community work to earn credit and pay off fine and court costs while they are incarcerated.

Existing law only allowed offenders to earn credit for work done before or after their incarceration, according to a press release from Northam’s office.

“It’s already hard enough for our justice-involved population to reintegrate into society,” said Northam. “If we can help them reduce debts they owe our courts that is one less burden they face as they work to rebuild their lives.”

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