Press Release

FAMM sends letter urging Virginia Governor Ralph Northam to use pardon power generously

Tripp Laino, 202-999-4273

FAMM sends letter urging Virginia Governor Ralph Northam to use pardon power generously


RICHMOND — FAMM sent a letter today to Virginia Governor Ralph Northam encouraging him to generously use his pardon power generously as his term nears its end. Virginia’s prison system doesn’t have parole, meaning the only way for a sentence to end early is through clemency.

“Clemency is for the living, not just the dead,” FAMM President Kevin Ring said. “Pardoning the Martinsville Seven is a way to right a decades-old wrong, but there are many people deserving of clemency in Virginia’s prisons right now. Jesse Dunaway will die in prison for committing a drug offense unless he receives clemency, and he’s just one of many people serving unjust sentences in state prisons now. Governor Northam should grant conditional pardons to people like Jesse, and reunite them with their families today.”

FAMM launched a second chances campaign last year, calling on state and federal lawmakers to pass second look laws, expand compassionate release and expand clemency, as well as other reforms.

For nearly three decades, FAMM has united the voices of affected families, the formerly incarcerated, and a range of stakeholders and advocates to fight for a more fair and effective justice system. FAMM’s focus on ending a one-size-fits-all punishment structure has led to reforms to sentencing and prison policies at the state and federal level and is paving the way to programs that support rehabilitation for the 94% of all prisoners who will return to our neighborhoods one day.


FAMM is a national nonpartisan advocacy organization that promotes fair and effective criminal justice policies that safeguard taxpayer dollars and keep our communities safe. Founded in 1991, FAMM is helping transform America’s criminal justice system by uniting the voices of impacted families and individuals and elevating the issues all across the country.