Attorney General Mark R. Herring is working every day to promote safe, successful communities in every corner of the Commonwealth, where justice, equality, and opportunity are guaranteed for all Virginians. He has advocated for substantial reforms to address disparities and inequities throughout the criminal justice system including cash bail reform, expanding opportunities for record expungement, growing Virginia’s reentry programs, and ensuring accountability and transparency in policing. He has also become the leader on marijuana reform in Virginia by calling for decriminalization, which passed during the 2020 legislative session and continuing the fight for full legalization.
Attorney General Herring has brought together law enforcement, community leaders, the faith community, and others to find common ground, identify solutions, and ensure the safety of our communities and the equal and fair treatment of all our citizens. He and his team led an ambitious 21st-century policing training initiative that helped hundreds of officers receive training on critical skills like implicit bias control, de-escalation, and crisis intervention training. He has also advocated for policing reforms that will reduce brutality and abuses of power by law enforcement, increase transparency, accountability, justice, and equality. These include enabling the Attorney General to conduct “patterns or practice” investigations; making it easier to remove bad officers from the law enforcement profession; creating a “duty to intervene” for law enforcement officers; modernizing, standardizing, and elevating the rigor of police training; among others.
Attorney General Herring is leading the way in transforming how Virginia works to prevent and responds to sexual and domestic violence. He eliminated Virginia’s backlog of 2,665 untested rape kits, as part of a $3.4 million project, that resulted in 851 new profiles added to the national DNA database, 354 “hits” sent back to localities for review, and at least 2 charges, with more anticipated. He chaired Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s Task Force on Combating Campus Sexual Violence, which helped make Virginia a national leader on the issue. He has helped implement Lethality Assessment Protocol, an innovative tool to prevent domestic violence and homicide, in dozens of communities around the Commonwealth.
Attorney General Herring has been recognized as one of Virginia’s foremost authorities in responding to the heroin and opioid crisis that continues to affect so many families in Virginia and around the country. He has relentlessly pursued a comprehensive strategy that emphasizes education, prevention, and treatment alongside enforcement and cracking down on dealers and traffickers who profit off addiction and threaten Virginians’ lives. He has also gone after opioid manufacturers and distributors for their role in creating and prolonging the opioid crisis by putting profits over human lives. He and his team have prosecuted more than 75 cases against heroin dealers and traffickers involving more than 375 pounds of heroin and fentanyl, which is about 1.69 million doses worth about $17 million on the streets.
Even in the NRA’s home state, Attorney General Herring has stood up to the gun lobby and has defended Virginia’s new gun safety measures in court, like the proven-effective one-handgun-a-month law and Virginia’s expanded background checks. He has built a record of achievement in reducing gun violence, prosecuting more than 100 cases involving illegal guns and gun violence. He has also led effective projects to reduce gun violence using public health and violence interruption models.