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Real Reform In The Criminal Legal System:

In 2019, Northern Virginia voters chose change. They said they wanted to see the justice system stop criminalizing poverty, address its racial inequities, stop participating in mass incarceration, and work towards real criminal justice reform. And to do that, they elected Parisa Tafti.

Since assuming the role of Commonwealth Attorney, Parisa has made it her mission to see those reforms turned into policies – and she’s succeeding. Over the past several years the office of the Commonwealth Attorney has:

  • Stopped asking for cash bail
  • Successfully launched the Behavioral Health Docket
  • Created fairer rules of discovery
  • Promoted a divisionary system for Juvenile offenders
  • And continued the essential work of moving towards restorative justice

When we started this campaign, Parisa promised to adopt thoughtful, data-driven policies that would keep our communities safe, improve the justice system, and make our Northern Virginia a better place to live – and she’s just getting started.


What is a Commonwealth’s Attorney?

The Commonwealth’s Attorney is the top prosecutor for Arlington and the City of Falls Church, and is responsible for,

  1. Making policies and sets priorities as to which crimes are prosecuted.  Like most jurisdictions, Virginia’s criminal code categorizes an immense number of acts as crimes including, among other things, adultery, cursing a person in public, and defacing the flag of the Commonwealth.  The job of the Commonwealth’s Attorney is to focus on serious crimes that threaten the safety of the public and compromise the welfare of the community and its members.
  2. Managing the office and engaging with community stakeholders.   As the chief supervisor of the office, the Commonwealth’s Attorney not only determines how staff functions and how caseloads are assigned, but also decides whether and how the office collects data on charging and sentencing decisions and whether and how that data is shared with the public.
  3. Serving as an expert advocate for reform locally and in Richmond.  We have reached a turning point in criminal justice when across the political spectrum, we now get that the punitive, War on Drugs model cannot be sustained.  The Commonwealth’s Attorney possesses a powerful voice that can be used to lobby for reform in Richmond and bring stakeholders together to achieve meaningful change locally.