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Democrats want to bring back parole

It flew under the radar, but last week’s Democratic gubernatorial debate laid down a significant marker for the party headed to November.

Regardless of who is at the top of the ticket, the return of discretionary parole will be a top priority for Democrats.

The position of the Democratic Party in Virginia is crystal clear – they want killers to have another chance to get back out on the streets.

According to one of their gubernatorial candidates, “People are entitled to second chances and are entitled to have an independent body review whether or not they have repented.”

Some went even further, calling for every criminal, including those convicted of rape, child pornography, and other heinous offenses, to get parole.

“I want everybody to have access to parole,” former Gov. Terry McAuliffe said. “You show me someone who’s never made a mistake, and I’ll show you a liar.”

Democrats in the House of Delegates have already taken steps to make life easier for criminals. They’ve reduced sentences for robbery, voted to let hundreds of inmates out early for COVID reasons, and given lower-level criminals one free pass before they’re faced with criminal consequences.

Democrats won’t be happy until virtually every inmate is released from jail. We’ve seen them turn a blind eye to the likely criminal activities at the parole board. Why? Because they like the outcome — more and more killers being released from jail.

Republicans continue to oppose bringing back parole for the simple reason that abolition works. Our crime rates are low, and Republicans will continue to work to keep them that way.

CRITICAL RACE THEORY

IN OUR SCHOOLS

Critical Race Theory is fast becoming America’s new institutional orthodoxy, yet most Americans have never heard of it, and if they have, they don’t understand it.

Critical Race Theory is an academic discipline, formulated in the 1990s. It has already been injected into government agencies, public school systems, and corporate human resource departments in the form of diversity training programs, human resource modules, and school curricula. The idea now has shifted from equality to equity, which has many farther-reaching consequences.

Under the Biden administration, the Department of Education now has a proposed rule that would infuse Critical Race Theory into the education of every K-12 school in the nation.

Critical Race Theory and its proponents do not build – they tear down, divide people into groups, and assign guilt.

Our system isn’t perfect, but it is better than anything else that has ever been tried. There are bad actors in our system, but I reject the idea that it is racist in and of itself. The genius of America is that our systems were founded in an imperfect state but contain the means of their own perfection.

My concern with this kind of teaching is that it divides our students into racial groups unnecessarily. It creates “us” and “them” and that is not healthy.

I agree that in some cases our system doesn’t produce adequate outcomes for minority students, but rejecting the entire system is a terrible idea. It teaches students that, unless they are born a member of a certain class they have no hope.

What kind of message is that? If you’re not white, you have no chance, unless you rebel and overthrow the system? The goal is to treat everyone equally, but the solution is not to tear our current system completely down.

Are Black students graduating at lower rates than their white peers? Let’s find out and fix it. Do they need more resources? More support? What’s the difference? How can we correct this outcome? The alternative is horrifying. We tell students that they are victims and they do not have the agency to improve their lot, no matter what they do. They have no hope for self-improvement.

Rather than nurture an ethic of self-correction, in which students learn to recognize mistakes or behavior that results in negative outcomes, we inculcate a world view of victimhood — in which personal responsibility never takes hold.

For the majority of students, teaching that the system is inherently biased and that they were the beneficiaries of it creates unjustified guilt. Today students did not create our system. They had no control over their birth, and even if the system were biased in their favor, they had no hand in it. Burdening students with guilt is worse than unhealthy, it’s wrong. No one should be ashamed of who they are for simply existing.

At the bottom line, I believe we are all individuals, and we are all accountable for our actions. That is the opposite of Critical Race Theory. Teachers should not take sides. Some of the materials floating around out there call for teachers to become advocates, not educators. That’s wrong.

DEL. TOMMY WRIGHT can be reached via email at DelTWright@house.virginia.gov or (804) 698-1061.