Ex-offenders returning from jail often face a complex transition back into the community. Across the Commonwealth there is a growing movement to provide re-entry services to ex-offenders returning to the community because these programs have been found to reduce recidivism, reduce crime, and save taxpayer dollars. In recent years, Virginia has developed a comprehensive plan to address re-entry and recidivism reduction for state inmates, but locally based correctional facilities are left with little guidance or resources. Due to the autonomy of local jails, there has been no state-led or funded re-entry program, and localities are not eligible to participate in state Department of Corrections’ programs.
Recognizing this gap in service, Attorney General Mark Herring has created the Commonwealth’s first ever Statewide Re-entry Coordinator position to help local sheriffs prepare inmates for release and connect them with local community stakeholders. The Statewide Re-entry Coordinator assists with the formation of local community councils, re-entry forums, and connecting housing, employment, behavior health and substance abuse services.
A web portal is under development to aid Sheriffs with their re-entry efforts. This portal will serve as a collection of re-entry data, will include examples of assessment materials, different re-entry strategies for implementation, local community resources and resource kits.
The Office of the Attorney General Mark R. Herring Presents: Future Directions in Re-Entry: People, Policy and Progress Regional Trainings throughout the Commonwealth