Home Report: Virginia has lowest recidivism rate in the country

Report: Virginia has lowest recidivism rate in the country


Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that Virginia’s re-incarceration rate is the lowest in the country, at 23.4 percent.

The official recidivism rate is calculated by the percentage of offenders who return to state responsible incarceration within three years of being released. Out of the 45 states that use the three-year recidivism metric, Virginia is now ranked number one in ex-felons transitioning into society without re-imprisonment.

“Since the beginning of my administration, we have aggressively pursued policies and initiatives that rehabilitate incarcerated individuals, so they can develop the tools and skills to be successful,” said Governor McAuliffe, speaking at today’s announcement. “This announcement is a strong indication that our correctional system reforms are helping ex-offenders become successful citizens once they leave prison.

“I commend the incredible hard work of the Virginia Department of Corrections, public safety agencies, and community partners that have made this possible, and we will continue to actively pursue policies that bring positive change to our communities and improve safety in all corners of the Commonwealth.”

Governor McAuliffe was joined by the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran, the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) Director Harold Clarke, public safety officials and community partners at today’s announcement. This year’s recidivism rate is calculated from individuals released three years ago, in 2012. Roughly ninety-one percent of individuals incarcerated in Virginia will one day be released back into their communities.

“Our new number one ranking reflects the hard work and dedication of the Department of Corrections staff, and the vision of the McAuliffe administration,” added Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran.

In Virginia, reentry preparation starts with a risk and needs assessment when an offender enters the VADOC. From offender training and education programs, work programs, resource fairs, veterans’ programs, and offender savings accounts to a partnership with the Department of Motor Vehicles to get offenders DMV-issued state identification before they leave prison, the VADOC is operating a multitude of successful, evidence-based reentry programs.

“Reentry preparation begins the day the Department of Corrections receives an offender,” said Virginia Department of Corrections Director Harold Clarke. “The staff in our facilities and in our probation and parole offices work diligently to help offenders make better choices. These are our neighbors, these are our fellow citizens; these are people and families who need a second chance.”

The state recidivism rate of 23.4 percent refers to the re-incarceration rate of offenders who were incarcerated in VADOC facilities. Due to limitations in the capacity of state facilities, some VADOC offenders serve their entire incarceration in a local or regional jail. The number of VADOC offenders who were released from jails without having served time in a VADOC facility rose from one-quarter of total VADOC releases in 2009 to approximately one-half in 2016.

More specific information regarding the recidivism rate can be found here.



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