McDonnell announces milestone in prisoner re-entry support program

virginia-blue-oversizeGov. Bob McDonnell on Thursday announced a milestone in a partnership between the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and the Virginia Department of Corrections that supports his initiative of successful prisoner re-entry.

DMV’s outreach program called DMV Connect, launched in March 2012 at Deep Meadow Correctional Center in Powhatan, has recently completed expansion into 12 correctional facilities around the state and processed 500 identification cards for inmates preparing for release.

Through DMV Connect, correctional facilities identify individuals slated for release within a month and collect the necessary personal documents and DMV applications for Virginia ID cards. DMV employees then travel to the correctional facilities where they complete the transactions for the soon-to-be-released offenders. Using portable equipment including a laptop and camera, DMV securely processes the work in real-time. Each new ID card is mailed from DMV’s secure central processing facility to the appropriate correctional facility. Personnel at the correctional facilities ensure the inmates’ new ID cards are in their release packets.

Speaking about the program, McDonnell commented:

“Identification is necessary to confirm citizenship and identity.  An official form of identification is also necessary to address basic needs such as opening bank accounts, entering public buildings, and applying for jobs and benefits. To ensure that offenders who are leaving our facilities to go back into Virginia communities do so with an ID card in hand, DMV connection teams provide this important service to offenders before they are released. Through this program, 500 people have received their ID cards and have taken an important step to being successfully reintegrated into society upon release. The DMV Connect program supports our offender re-entry initiative and aids in our effort to lower the recidivism rate here in Virginia. One of the main reasons released offenders find themselves back in jail or prison is because it’s difficult to fit back in to ‘normal’ life. Offenders have to reestablish ties with their families, and they are often trying to get jobs with poor or limited work histories. Securing formal identification is a necessary step to successfully returning to society, and DMV and DOC are helping achieve that through this partnership.”

Through DMV Connect, DMV employees now conduct ID card transactions on a routine basis at the following state correctional facilities:

·                     Bland in Bland County

·                     Coffeewood in Culpeper County

·                     Deep Meadow in Powhatan County

·                     Deerfield in Southampton County

·                     Dillwyn in Buckingham County

·                     Fluvanna in Fluvanna County

·                     Greensville in Greensville County

·                     Haynesville in Richmond County

·                     Indian Creek in the City of Chesapeake

·                     Lunenburg in Lunenburg County

·                     St. Brides in the City of Chesapeake

·                     VA Correctional Center for Women in Goochland County

The program could expand to federal facilities and local jails this year.

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