The West Virginia Offender Reentry Initiative

WVORIThe West Virginia Offender Reentry Initiative is a part of a national initiative to improve the transition of offenders from prison to communities. The WV Division of Corrections has designed and implemented a program wherein offenders have a greater opportunity to be successful upon their return to communities, thus protecting the public and reducing victimization. This is a comprehensive program that addresses many aspects of the offender’s life, to include: health, mental health, job skills, education, substance abuse, etc. The Initiative is a statewide initiative designed to assist in holding offenders accountable and maintain levels of personal responsibility, with the ultimate goal of reducing recidivism and thus reducing victimization.

Offender Reentry is a critical issue for all West Virginians. Only 5.5% of the prison population is serving life sentences, meaning that the vast majority of offenders will one day return to communities across the state. Increasing personal responsibility and accountability within each offender through programs that are designed to address specific criminogenic risks and needs is essential in decreasing the likelihood of future criminal behavior and victimization.

As a part of this initiative, WV has brought together multiple state and local agencies to serve on a steering committee to the project. This Steering Committee guides the process of implementation, ensuring that best practices in each discipline are adhered to and that appropriate linkages between transitioning offenders and service providers are not just available, but strong.

West Virginia Reentry Partners:

  • WV Division of Corrections
  • WV State Police
  • WV Division of Criminal Justice Services
  • WV Parole Board WV Dept of Education, Office of Institutional Education
  • Correctional Medical Services
  • WORKFORCE West Virginia
  • WV Division of Motor Vehicles
  • WV Sheriff’s Association
  • WV DHHR- Division on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse
  • WV DHHR– Division on Adult Mental Health & Community Rehabilitation
  • WV DHHR– Bureau for Children & Families
  • WV DHHR– Bureau for Public Health
  • WV Prevention Resource Center
  • Mission West Virginia

Goals of the Initiative:

  • Prevent Re-offending
  • Enhance Public Safety
  • Redeploy and leverage existing community resources by fostering linkages and accessing currently provided services
  • Assist the offender to avoid crime, engage in pro-social community activities, and meet family responsibilities

Major accomplishments of the Initiative to date:

  • Major overhauls were completed the DOC’s system of managing offender case loads, 2004.
  • The Level of Service Inventory-Revised, a validated risk and needs assessment instrument, was implemented, 2004.
  • Crime-specific risk assessments were implemented for the sex offender and domestic violence offender population, 2005.
  • Resources continue to be leveraged to ensure aftercare services for offender, further reducing their risk.
  • A cross-system victim safety planning component was implemented, 2006.
  • Specialized training in the supervision and management of sexual offenders was made available through the Initiative, 2006.

For more information on Offender Reentry in West Virginia contact the Office of the Director of Programs, Jennifer Ballard.

For more information on Offender Reentry in general, try these helpful web sites:

Reentry Services for Crime Victims 
Offender Reentry is a program designed to restore justice to communities and to victims. Each component of the program was designed to empower victims throughout the process of an offender’s release from incarceration. Various services are available through the WV Division of Corrections, Office of Victim Services. Please contact the Victim Services Manager at 304-558-2036, ext. 29, for more information on what the agency can do to serve you and your needs.

"More people are leaving prisons across the country to return to their families and communities than at any other time in our history. The potential "ripple effects" of the prisoner reentry process for returning prisoners, their families, and communities have sparked a growing level of activity among national, state, and local policymakers, researchers, and practitioners that is unprecedented. At the same time, some of the most important innovative work in the reentry field is occurring at the community level." -Reentry National Media Outreach Campaign

"As a community, we are all affected by prisoner reentry. Formerly incarcerated individuals have children who attend schools, parents who shop in grocery stores and spouses who work with us every day. Armed with factual knowledge about prisoner reentry and a desire to make a difference, our community at large can help to make the reentry process an opportunity for positive change in our own neighborhoods, our society, and our state."—Maryland Public Television

"Effective reentry policies save money and make better use of limited resources by establishing a more coordinated and comprehensive continuum of care and supervision. Even small reductions in recidivism rates will generate substantial cost-savings by avoiding more costly re-incarceration." –National Governors Association Center for Best Practices