Virginia’s Low Recidivism Rate Remains Among Nation’s Best

By CN Staff

RICHMOND, Va.—The Virginia Department of Corrections has again achieved one of the lowest recidivism rates in the nation.

The 20.6 percent recidivism rate for the FY2018 cohort of State Responsible (SR) releases improves on the 22.3 percent recidivism rate for FY2017 SR releases and places Virginia second only to South Carolina among the 35 states that report re-incarceration of state-responsible inmates within three years of their release. South Carolina reported a 19.4 percent recidivism rate.

This is the seventh year in a row that Virginia has had the second lowest or the lowest rate of recidivism in the nation.

Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Robert Mosier said “Virginia’s low rate of recidivism is the result of the work of dedicated professionals within the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) in collaboration with law enforcement and other local and state partners.  This effort helps to reduce victimization within the Commonwealth and lowers the overall cost of operating our criminal justice system.”

“Virginia continues to be a leader in corrections. We strive for long-lasting public safety focusing on implementing effective programs and reentry services, evidence-based practices, maintaining secure facilities, and providing effective supervision of probationers and parolees in the community,” said Director Harold Clarke. “We owe a debt of gratitude for the tireless efforts of our staff and collaborators, who are working to improve our system,” he added.

Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) waits at least four years to calculate the three-year SR re-incarceration rate of SR releases to allow all court information to be received and entered in the VADOC database. Of the 12,499 state-responsible inmates released from incarceration in Virginia in FY2018 who had an opportunity to recidivate, 2,576 had an SR re-incarceration within three years.

The drop in Virginia’s rate between FY2017 and FY2018 may be attributable, at least in part to the courts operating in limited capacity or closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing work at VADOC to prepare those releasing from incarceration for success.

“Virginia’s low recidivism rate means increased public safety for families, neighborhoods, and the entire Commonwealth,” Director Clarke said. “Increased public safety is a victory for all.”