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

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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

Customers Bid Farewell To One Of The D.C. Region's Last Video Stores

Longtime movie lovers say they'll miss the shop, but they'll especially mourn the gradual death of an American tradition.
NPR

Tabasco And Beer-Flavored: Not Your Easter Bunny's Jelly Beans

On the eve of Easter and National Jelly Bean Day, let us probe the mysterious origins and unexpected ascendency of the humble candy. And to celebrate, we've sampled Jelly Belly's newest flavors.
WAMU 88.5

Analysis: U.S. Capitol Renovations And The D.C. Council's Lawsuit Against Mayor Gray

Roll Call's David Hawkings joins Matt Bush to discuss the D.C. council's suit against Mayor Gray and the expensive process of rehabilitating the U.S. Capitol Dome.
WAMU 88.5

Free Public Wi-Fi Comes To NoMa

The NoMa Business Improvement District has started to provide free Wi-Fi in some parts of the neighborhood, but some users say the service is still too sluggish.

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