Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2005
HJR 273: Joint Subcommittee Studying Prisoner Reentry Into Society
|Exhibit 6. Virginia Reentry Pilot Program.|
|Proposed Pilot Facilities||Pre-Release||Community Integration|
|Greensville Correctional Facility||Greensville/Norfolk||Greensville/Richmond|
|Coffeewood Correctional Center||Culpeper||Culpeper/Charlottesville/Albemarle|
|Haynesville Correctional Unit||King George||King George/Norfolk/Richmond|
|Powhatan Correctional Center||Richmond||Richmond|
|Fluvanna Correctional Center||Culpeper||Richmond/Charlottesville/Albemarle|
Pilot areas were identified on a volunteer basis. The pilots will allow for testing and evaluating implementation of the recommendations developed from Virginia's participation in the National Governors Association Policy Academy on Prisoner Reentry (Policy Academy).
Pilot programs will be characterized by community collaboration, integrated service delivery, and systems of support. Directors of local departments of social services will serve as the convening agencies and will bring together representatives of public and private agencies, businesses, community-based service providers, and faith-based organizations to form local reentry councils. Each local council will develop a reentry plan for its locality that identifies available resources and methods for interagency coordination and implementation of Policy Academy recommendations. Each locality will have an assigned correctional facility from which up to a maximum of 50 prisoners will be referred for participation in the pilot program.
The reentry pilots will last for 24 months and have three phases. Phase I will focus on establishing local reentry coordinating councils and provide inmates from the participating correctional facilities scheduled orientations with information about services and obligations that effect them and their families during their time of incarceration and upon their return to the community.
Phase II of the pilots will begin six months before the release of participating inmates. Representatives of the correctional facility and the local reentry council will meet with individual prisoners and develop plans for their return to the community. This planning will address financial obligations, housing, financial and community resources, education and training, employment, health, mental health, and social reintegration and will include measurable outcomes.
Phase III of the reentry pilots will cover the 12 months following the ex-offender's return to the community. During this phase, there will be contact with a team representing the local reentry council. Councils will develop methods for on-going communication and support for the returning ex-offender. The established outcomes will be measured at one month, three months, six months, and 12 months following release. Phase III will also include a fatherhood/motherhood and family to family mentoring component in which trained mentors will work with the ex-offenders and his or her family during the reentry process. As well as relationship building and support, mentors will promote and facilitate ex-offender and family member skills building. According to Ms. Brown, better reentry preparation, integrated service delivery, and a support system of people that care will help decrease reentry barriers and help increase the opportunity for those prisoners returning to experience restoration and to be contributing members of the communities to which they return.
Pat Smith, Executive Director of OAR, stated that the programs offered by the Offender Re-entry Services Coalition (formally PAPIS) have successfully provided the bridge between state and local incarceration systems and the Virginia communities they serve for over 30 years. Continued state financial support is essential to keep the Commonwealth's communities safe. Reentry services include:
During the Fiscal Year (FY) 2005, the nine programs that provide reentry services in the Commonwealth served 19,707 clients--state and local prisoners being released into society. Providers of programs include both local and statewide community-based organizations with solid linkages to employers, faith-based organizations, landlords, and social services agencies. The Offender Re-entry Services Coalition is requesting $2.6 million for each year of the upcoming biennium from the 2006 General Assembly: $2.1 million will be used to fund programs and a program evaluation study and $500,000 will be used for capacity building activities with other reentry services providers, including faith-based organizations.
Martha Rollins, Chief
Executive Officer of Boaz & Ruth, Inc., spoke about the difference
her organization is making in Richmond. Boaz & Ruth, Inc., is a
non-profit, faith-based corporation that has helped more than 300 people who are released from prison. The organization prepares ex-offenders for reentry to society by providing job training, life skills, and business experience through a furniture store/training center. After just two years of operation:
Keith Wm. DeBlasio, Liaison on Research and Positions, Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants - Virginia, Inc. (Virginia C.U.R.E.), reminded the joint subcommittee of the federal Second Chance Act of 2005 (H.R. 1704 and S. 1924) and stated, "For the sake of public safety and restoring the lives of offenders, as well as the families and communities that are impacted by the criminal justice system, focus should be given to policies that positively affect and prepare this population for reentry. Special emphasis should be directed to families and children of incarcerated persons--those innocent, often overlooked victims who are most impacted by the judicial system." Mr. DeBlasio asked the joint subcommittee to consider the following issues:
NEW INMATE POPULATION FORECASTS AND ALTERNATIVE SANCTIONS FOR TECHNICAL VIOLATORS
Barry Green, Director, Department of Juvenile Justice, stated that the forecast released in October 2004 predicted that the state prison population would grow by almost 1,100 inmates during FY 2005. The actual growth was only 20. Further, the projected annual growth for the next 6 years was 3.2%; the new forecast now projects average growth of just over 2%. While Mr. Green cannot say that this decrease is directly due to the Commonwealth's prisoner reentry efforts since 2003, he does believe that the efforts played a role in the improved numbers. At the same time, he stressed that much remains to be accomplished. The jail forecast, which in 2004 was projected to grow 3.9% annually over the next 6 years, is still projected to grow at an average rate of 3.8% (based on the new forecast).
Mr. Green also spoke about the following General Assembly actions in recent sessions that have promoted alternative sanctions for technical violators.
Mr. Green concluded his remarks by listing a few of the budget requests for 2006 from the Department of Corrections (DOC) for inclusion in the Governor's budget:
Despite the fact a quorum was not present, the joint subcommittee considered a compilation of recommendations that had been made to it and determined which recommendations to endorse pending a formal vote in January and which were not feasible to pursue. The joint subcommittee endorsed the following recommendations:
* If not included in the Governor's budget.
Legislation directing the Secretary of Health and Human Resources, in collaboration with the Secretary of Public Safety, to establish an integrated system for coordinating the planning and provision of services for children with incarcerated parents among and between state, local, and nonprofit agencies in order to provide such children with services needed to continue parental relationships with the incarcerated parent, where appropriate, and encourage healthy relationships in the family and community. All funds used shall be leveraged to the fullest extent possible and direct services shall be provided in the most cost effective means possible, including through agreements with local nonprofit organizations.
Because a quorum was not present at this meeting, the joint subcommittee will hold an extra meeting on Tuesday, January 10, 2006, at 10:00 a.m. in Richmond in the 3rd Floor East Conference Room at the General Assembly Building to take a formal vote on the recommendations.
The Hon. Linda T. Puller
Patricia Davis, DLS Staff
Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2005