Study shows Virginia prison recidivism low, doesn’t include all offenders


When people get out of prison in Virginia, they tend to stay out, according to a recent release from Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

On Tuesday, McAuliffe released the results of a recidivism study that showed Virginia having the lowest prison reincarceration levels across the country, with only 23 percent of people released from state prisons in 2012 returning within three years.

The study did not include Texas, Georgia, Maryland, Illinois and Hawaii.

Although Virginia had the lowest recidivism rate of those 45 states, the study did not account for Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) prisoners who served their full sentences in local and regional jails due to overcrowding in prisons.

As of 2016, about 50 percent of offenders intended for prison served their time in local and regional jails. That percentage has doubled since 2009, McAuliffe’s release states.

Offenders who do go to VADOC facilities often benefit from programming and treatment that focus on education, training and work. There are also in-prison job fairs and veterans’ programs.

“Reentry preparation begins the day the Department of Corrections receives an offender,” VDOC Director Harold Clarke wrote in the release. “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.”

Mayfield can be reached at

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Adrienne Mayfield is an award-winning, multi-media journalist hailing from Clermont, Fla. She moved to Lynchburg, Va. on a whim when she was 19, and worked her way to Hampton Roads in 2013. Adrienne is passionate about telling people stories via covering public safety and the judicial system. She isn’t afraid to take a heads-on approach to covering crime, including knocking on doors to get the details police aren’t sharing. Adrienne is a 2014 Old Dominion University graduate who still lives within walking distance of the college. You may see her cruising around Downtown Norfolk on her bike, enjoying a sandwich from Grilled Cheese Bistro or playing fetch with her dog, Greta, at the Colonial Place dog park.