Tuesday, August 9, 2022

VPRJ aims to make incarceration more productive with ‘reentry fair’

Through a partnership between William & Mary’s School of Education and the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail (pictured here), the students designed and delivered a 10-week counseling curriculum focused on empowering and motivating the women to find a path toward a healthier life. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Erin Zagursky)
The Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail will host a reentry fair for inmates on Friday. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Erin Zagursky)

The Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail is looking to make reentry into society a smoother process for its inmates.

The jail announced in a news release it would host a reentry fair for its inmates on Friday, featuring organizations and agencies specializing in housing, employment and services.

Those three areas can be the most challenging aspects of reentering society after spending time in jail or prison, according to the news release.

“This is a great opportunity for several of our inmates who will be released in three months, six months, or even a year, to get facetime with individuals who work with the very agencies and organizations that can help them transition successfully from an incarcerated life to an independent life as a productive citizen,” said jail Superintendent Tony Pham.

The organizations and agencies attending the reentry fair will help connect inmates with resources they’re eligible to receive, such as veterans benefits and low-cost or emergency housing.

The organizations can also help connect them with businesses who are willing to work with people who were convicted of crimes.

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles will be at the fair, as well as private organizations such as REAL LIFE and Virginia Cares, both of which help formerly incarcerated people reenter society.

Some private employers will also be on site to offer on-the-spot interviews for inmates so they can increase their chance at having a job ready and waiting for them when they are released from jail. 

“This event has the potential to help a lot of people,” Pham said. “I’m looking forward to expanding on this to help even more inmates next year.”

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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