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Can Corrections Heal? Reducing Recidivism and Increasing Public Safety in Virginia

Accession Number: 029720
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"When discussing recidivism reduction plans within U.S. correctional agencies, many ideas surface. Some ideas are tried and true; some are progressive and cutting edge; some are recycled and restructured; but all are hopeful. In 2010, the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) began thoroughly examining its security measures, programs, human resources and their combined effectiveness in reducing recidivism … This started with an introduction of a new corrections paradigm. The paradigm focused on the principles of effective correctional treatment by determining risk classification, criminogenic needs and responsivity through cognitive-behavioral approaches. It placed the emphasis, once again, on creation of long-term public safety through offender change. While VADOC quickly moved to design and implement policies that reflected evidence-based practices (EBPs), it became apparent that a sweeping organizational culture change was necessary" (p. 1-2). The "push towards a holistic culture change at VADOC" came about by: promoting organizational culture change—strategic plan, the Healing Environment, dialogue, and learning teams; VADOC's Segregation Step-Down Program—since 2011 offenders in restrictive housing reduced 68% with serious prison incidents reduced 33%; and the Integrated Model for Reentry. "The agency's recidivism rate has dropped from 27.3 percent with the 2010 cohort to 22.8 percent with the 2013 measure, ranking VADOC as the second lowest in the nation among 38 states that measure recidivism similarly" (p. 69).

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Publication Year: 
4 pages