Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has created the state’s first Prisoner and Juvenile Offender Re-Entry Council to study recidivism and promote more successful societal re-entry programs, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch. About one-third of Virginia’s prisoners return to prison within three years of their release. About 10,000 adults and 300 juveniles are released from Virginia prisons each year. The governor said he wants the council to work closely with the community college system, businesses, service agencies and faith-based organizations.
“Effective re-entry policies can improve public safety, reduce victimization, improve outcomes for offenders returning to their communities and reduce recidivism,” McDonnell said. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said he is particularly interested in programs that recognize the needs for mental-health treatment. McDonnell has appointed Banci Tewolde, who worked with him in the attorney general’s office, as the first prisoner re-entry coordinator. The program will not cost the state more money and instead will reallocate funds going to other sources, he said.