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Sentencing commission has new director

The Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission has appointed Meredith Farrar-Owens as its new director, the Supreme Court of Virginia has announced.

Farrar-Owens is the second person to serve as director since the Sentencing Commission was established by the General Assembly in 1994. A judicial branch agency, the commission develops discretionary sentencing guidelines for use by circuit court judges in all felony cases and conducts a wide array of research projects examining Virginia’s criminal justice system.

Farrar-Owens succeeds Dr. Richard Paul Kern, who had served as director since the Sentencing Commission’s inception. Farrar-Owens has served as acting director since Dr. Kern’s death in December 2011.

Farrar-Owens has been with the Sentencing Commission since its creation, and previously served as its deputy director. She is the current president of the National Association of Sentencing Commissions, and has served as a member of Virginia’s Drug Court Evaluation Committee and the Juvenile Justice Human Research Review Committee. Farrar-Owens is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics with a minor in Government. She completed her Master’s Degree in Sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University.

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