WAMU 88.5 : News

New Virginia Laws Offer 'Second Chance' For Ex-Offenders

Play associated audio

More than 13,000 felons were released from Virginia prisons in 2010, yet two-thirds are likely to be re-arrested within three years. Another 50,000 offenders were discharged in 2010 from local jails.

To strengthen the state's prisoner re-entry program and lower recidivism rates, Gov. Bob McDonnell had already created a Re-entry Council and appointed the first-ever statewide coordinator. At a special ceremony, he signed seven bills with practical additions.

"America is a nation of second chances," McDonnell says.

But he said 90 percent of inmates will be released and their adjustment is a public safety concern. Sen. Ryan McDougle's bill creates a trust account with funds from prison work to use upon release. He said the goal is to remove barriers to productive lives.

"After people spent time incarcerated, they didn't have the financial ability to just do basic things: make sure they could get their driver's license back or get insurance for their vehicle," McDougle says.

The other new laws improve reentry planning, require HIV testing, and create new job opportunities.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, Aug. 4, 2015

You can see two exhibits and rub elbows with the artists behind the work.
WAMU 88.5

The Surprising Roots of Barbecue

We speak with culinary historian Michael Twitty about the roots of familiar southern dishes in African and Native American food traditions.

WAMU 88.5

President Obama's Iran Speech

Veteran journalist Marvin Kalb joins us to discuss the parallels between JFK's nuclear disarmament speech fifty years ago and President Obama's speech on the nuclear deal with Iran.

NPR

Sexist Reactions To An Ad Spark #ILookLikeAnEngineer Campaign

After being surprised by online responses to her appearance in a recruiting ad, engineer Isis Wenger wanted to see if anyone else felt like they didn't fit a "cookie-cutter mold."

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.