RICHMOND — The Virginia Department of Corrections is celebrating National Reentry Week, April 26-30, recognizing the vital work that DOC staff and inmates do to get inmates ready for successful reentry into their communities.
Reentry is everyone’s business and all DOC employees impact this meaningful work on a daily basis. In 2016, the Department of Justice designated National Reentry Week to occur during the month of April, which is Second Chance Month.
“The DOC is committed to creating second chances for the men and women in our care,” said Department of Corrections Director Harold Clarke. “Reentry preparation begins on an inmate’s first day with the DOC, and is affected by every staff position in some way. Our programs strongly contribute to effective individual change through the use of cognitive behavioral therapy skills, academic and vocational education, correctional industries, facility work programs, substance abuse treatment and shared community resources.”
The DOC also celebrates community collaborations with criminal justice stakeholders across Virginia this week, including local reentry councils, which help ensure the needs of inmates, probationers, and parolees are met.
The DOC’s efforts to create and sustain a healing environment and foster a learning organization are founded on staff skills gained through training, learning teams, and dialogue practices.
The Department’s mental health services promote wellness and address individuals’ needs from incarceration through community supervision. Security staff play a critical role in reentry, utilizing daily interactions with inmates to interrupt criminal thinking and role model decision making and communication skills. The use of EPICS II (Effective Practices in Correctional Settings) guides front line probation officers and counselors in applying interventions that are proven to reduce recidivism.
Specific services within the Department are designed to help inmates as they’re released from state custody and support those individuals on probation and parole. This includes providing individuals under DOC care with DMV identification cards, Virginia bonding letters, Medicaid enrollment, and registration on job-seeking websites.
The Department offers more than 125 programs to offenders who are in prison and to those who are under community supervision. Each program falls into one of three categories: academic, job training, and cognitive. A listing of available programs can be found here: https://vadoc.virginia.gov/offender-resources/incoming-offenders/facility-programs/