RICHMOND –Governor Ralph Northam announced today that Virginia continues to have one of the lowest recidivism rates in the country at 23.9%. This is the fifth consecutive year that the Commonwealth has posted the lowest or second lowest recidivism rate in the country. Recidivism refers to a person who has committed a new offense within a specified follow-up period that results in a new sentence.
Virginia’s recidivism rate remains among the lowest of the 42 states that report reincarceration of state-responsible inmates within three years of release, just behind South Carolina’s 21.9% rate.
“We all benefit when people in our corrections system have the opportunity to learn, grow and return to society as productive citizens,” Governor Northam said. “Our success is a direct result of effective reintegration programs and strong partnerships across our Commonwealth. I remain grateful to the hardworking professionals at the Virginia Department of Corrections who are dedicated to rehabilitation, transforming lives, and building safer communities.
The Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC), which operates state prisons and probation and parole offices, tailors its programming and oversight to meet each individual’s criminogenic risks and needs. VADOC offers over 125 programs for offenders who are in prison and those under community supervision. This includes addiction treatment, mental and behavioral health services, vocational and technical training, vocational training, and employment and housing assistance.
“Virginia continues to be a leader in corrections, both nationally and internationally,” Public Safety and Homeland Security Secretary Brian Moran said. “Virginia’s ability to maintain a low recidivism rate means increased public safety for families, neighborhoods and the entire Commonwealth.”
Of the 12,551 state inmates released from custody in Virginia in fiscal 2016, 2,997 were returned to custody within three years. Virginia waits at least four years to calculate the three-year readmission rate to ensure all court orders are included. All sentences attributable to the state after release are counted as recidivism in Virginia, including technical violations and penalties for offenses that occurred before release.
“The recidivism rate in Virginia has remained low due to the hard work of correctional staff and inmates,” said Harold Clarke, director of the Virginia Department of Corrections. “The evidence-based programs available to inmates, those on probation and parolees are particularly important, from cognitive skills programs to academic and vocational training to substance abuse treatment, as well as the best practices followed. in our facilities and district offices. ”
Factors such as mental health disorders and drug use are associated with recidivism. Inmates who had a history of positive tests for opioids and cocaine, for example, had a significantly higher rate of re-incarceration than those who had no history of positive tests for opioids or cocaine.
Additional information on recurrence in Virginia can be found at vadoc.virginia.gov.
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