The state of Virginia has released a policy to handle requests by terminally-ill prisoners for early release. The policy was developed in response to a request by Alex Velazquez, a prisoner at Powhatan Correctional Center, to be allowed to go home to Brooklyn, N.Y., to die. Velazquez, who is serving a 23-year sentence for selling cocaine in Virginia Beach, had AIDS.
Under the new policy, a four-member committee will review the request and the inmate's record and make a recommendation to the Virginia Parole Board, which will consider the case and report to the governor. The governor will make the final decision.
The committee members will be Corrections Department employees and will include a doctor, counselor, warden or assistant warden, and a deputy director.
About 60 prisoners in Virginia prisons have been diagnosed with AIDS.
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