New Legislation Threatens Efforts by ACRJ to Alter ICE Notification System
New legislation is on the table that could undermine the work of the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - New legislation is on the table that could undermine the work of the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.
Right now, the jail’s board voluntarily notifies Immigration Customs Enforcement 24 hours before a non-U.S. citizen is released. Recently, the board has been looking into other options amid criticisms of the practice.
However, Virginia 9th District Republican Charles Poindexter proposed a bill that would make notifications to ICE mandatory and if the jail fails to report an illegal alien’s release, it would not get state funding for three years.
A vote by the board on how to handle its notifications was supposed to take place during Thursday’s meeting, but has been delayed again while it looks for a potential replacement. The ACRJ board has been debating whether or not to keep its voluntary notification system in place for almost a year.
A potential option that the board has been considering is the Victim Information and Notification Everyday system. VINE allows users to sign up for notifications, which includes an inmate’s release date. According to ACRJ superintendent Martin Kumer, the system has some flaws.
“The way it works now is VINE notifies you about 15 minutes after the person has been released, which doesn’t do a lot of good to many people,” Kumer said. Kumer said all options are still on the table, including continued practice of voluntary notifications.
If Poindexter’s new legislation is approved, all of the board’s work for the past year will have been for nothing. Jail board member Diantha McKeel says the board is not letting it deter them.
“We’re going to continue with our process because we want, as a board, for VINE to work. It is a proven system in the state code for domestic violence victims. We have to make sure it is a working system,” McKeel said.
The hope of the board is that VINE will be able to send two notifications, one when an inmate is sent to jail and another three days in advance of their release date. The board will be testing out this system once the kinks are worked out and will return with its findings and a potential decision in March.