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Civil commitment: The same as supervised release in Virginia?

If you’ve been convicted of a felony in the past or have been on a sex offender registry, you know that you lost your right to vote when you were in prison. As a way of helping you merge back into society after being imprisoned or convicted, Governor Terry McAuliffe made a decision to restore the voting rights of over 200,000 convicted felons in Virginia. That included people who had completed their incarceration, parole, probation or supervised release. Your attorney may have more information on if you’ve been granted your rights back as well.

The news reported on this recently, because those who are finished serving sentences have earned some of their rights back. However, the state removed 132 sex offenders who had completed their sentences, according to the news. They are still under a civil commitment at a local treatment facility, so they should not have been taken off the list of registered voters in accordance to state laws.

It’s been claimed that the governor did not have the authority to give clemency to so many en masse, and others argued with the decision because several people still in prison were granted the right to vote against the law. The problem in this case is that the 132 people removed from the voting list are still in the Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation because they are allegedly too dangerous for release. However, these individuals have served their criminal sentences, so their representatives believe that they should have the right to vote restored. Under the governor’s terms, others believe they are still under supervised release. This gray area is something that will need to be cleared up by the state to prevent further issues in the future.

Source: The Roanoke Times, “Virginia pulls 132 confined sex offenders from list of eligible voters,” Laura Vozzella, June 20, 2016

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