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MEDIA ADVISORY: Americans for Prosperity and Coalition for Criminal Justice Reform Host Press Conference

Jan 27, 2020 by AFP

Grassroots group calls for lawmakers to help make WV communities safer and stronger through criminal justice reform

CHARLESTON, WV – Today, Americans for Prosperity will join coalition members to call for statewide criminal justice reforms. The coalition includes organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union, the Law Enforcement Action Partnership, and the West Virginia Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

The coalition will convene a press conference today at 1:30 in the Lewis McManus Room at the WV State Capitol.

What: Criminal Justice Reform Coalition Press Conference


  • Jason Huffman, West Virginia State Director – Americans for Prosperity
  • Joseph Cohen, Executive Director – ACLU of West Virginia
  • Amos Irwin, Program Director – Law Enforcement Action Partnership
  • Lida Shepherd, – American Friends Service Committee
  • Lonnie Simmons, Board Chair, Ronni M. Sheets, Chief Public Defender – Office of the Kanawha County Public Defender
  • Brian O’Donnell, S.J., Executive Director – Catholic Conference of West Virginia
  • Samuel A. Hickman, MSW, LCSW, ACSW, Executive Director – National Association of Social Workers, West Virginia Chapter
  • Ted Boettner, Executive Director – West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy
  • Julie Archer, West Virginia Citizen Action Group
  • Jennifer Wagner, Co-Director – Mountain State Justice
  • Garrett Ballengee, Executive Director – The Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy

When: Today, Monday January 27th at 1:30 PM

Where: Lewis McManus Room at the WV State Capitol

The coalition members all signed onto a letter advocating for lawmakers to support the following reforms:

  • Mandatory reporting of all civil asset forfeitures conducted in West Virginia
  • Allow for presumptive parole for individuals convicted of non-violent offenses once they reach their parole eligibility debate
  • Probation reforms that encourage the use of graduated sanctions for technical violations of probation
  • End the suspension of driver’s license for overdue fines and fees and restoring those licenses.
  • Bail reform that transitions West Virginia to a pretrial system based on a defendant’s risk, not his or her financial resources
  • Raise West Virginia’s felony theft threshold, joining the more than 40 states that have done so since 2000
  • Allow for individuals to petition for expungement of charges dropped as the result of a plea agreement
  • Expand the Fresh Start Act of 2019 so that more licensed professions will no longer exclude people from licensure simply for having a criminal record—unless it relates to the occupation at hand