RD582 - Status Report on Offender Transitional and Re-entry Services October 2019

Executive Summary:

§ 2.2-221.1. Secretary to coordinate system for offender transition and reentry services.

“The Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security shall establish an integrated system for coordinating the planning and provision of offender transitional and reentry services among and between state, local, and nonprofit agencies in order to prepare inmates for successful transition into their communities upon release from incarceration and for improving opportunities for treatment, employment, and housing while on subsequent probation, parole, or post-release supervision. It is the intent of the General Assembly that funds used for the purposes of this section be leveraged to the fullest extent possible and that direct transitional and reentry employment and housing assistance for offenders be provided in the most cost effective means possible, including through agreements with local nonprofit pre- and post-release service organizations."

To this end the Secretary shall provide a report to the Governor, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, and Senate Finance Committee that outlines the efforts of the various Secretaries to support this cause by November 15th.

This report details the efforts made by the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) and other executive agencies to ensure returning citizens transition smoothly back into the community. The Commonwealth provides services to offenders from the time of their arrest, to the time of their release, and consistently prioritizes re-entry needs.

The state agencies involved in the 2019 Re-entry Report evaluated their various programs, services, and collaborative efforts during FY2019. Agencies reported program benefits and barriers in annual evaluations. Overall, reported barriers include issues with funding, participation, and access.

A number of pre- and post-release strategies were implemented throughout FY2019. Pre-release services were focused on mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, employment training, life skills, and education. Post-release services included assistance in acquiring clothing, food, housing, transportation, identification, health care, and employment. These services aim to facilitate an offender’s seamless re-integration into the community.

Identified funding and policy barriers should be addressed to continue the facilitation of supportive reentry services. Evidence-based programs should be identified and replicated throughout the Commonwealth. Accurate data collection is imperative for Virginia’s program evaluation techniques and fidelity measurements of statewide initiatives. These efforts will ensure available funds support effective programs and re-entry needs.