A silver lining in every cloud.
Virginia state officials are asking law enforcement agencies to avoid arrests when possible, amid calls from civil rights groups about jail conditions amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran said his agency was encouraging law enforcement officers to use summons instead of arrests when possible.
The administration of Gov. Ralph Northam is also asking magistrates and judges to consider alternatives to incarceration. It is also asking judges and prosecutors to consider modifying sentences for low-level offenders in favor of avenues like electronic monitoring.
“This is an encouragement. Obviously, public safety weighs on all of these decisions,” Moran said, adding that he hopes the effect will be to further protect the state’s incarcerated population and staff from COVID-19.
“We really would like to emphasize and encourage our entire criminal justice system to take this virus as seriously as all of us are doing.”
The state will also suspend enforcement of motor vehicle inspections by 60 days.