Empty cells promising at new Richmond jail

The new Richmond City Justice Center opened recently to more empty beds than necessary, which is good news for a city with a history of jail overcrowding. The reduction is due in part to a day reporting center recently opened by GEO Reentry Services.

The jail—a six-story, 430,000-square-foot building—was built to hold 1,032 inmates. Nine-hundred and forty-five inmates now occupy the space. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, that’s a change from the last facility which routinely held between 1,300 and 1,500 inmates in a space built to accommodate 880.

GEO Reentry opened a day reporting center in partnership with the City of Richmond to complement the new jail, holding an open house in May. At the jail’s opening, Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones said city departments worked together to ensure the new jail wouldn’t be overwhelmed by inmates who qualify for alternatives to incarceration.

As mentioned in the article, Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Herring has pointed non-violent offenders toward the DRC to help reduce the number of inmates at the jail.

The Richmond DRC provides evidence-based programming designed to rehabilitate offenders and successfully prepare them for their reentry into the community.

Participants undergo cognitive behavioral therapy in addition to required daily-check-ins, drug and alcohol testing and case management. The intensive approach helps to reduce recidivism when compared to traditional reentry programs.

To successfully prepare participants for community life, they also take classes on employment readiness and career development, GED prep and life skills classes. If necessary, participants undergo drug and alcohol treatment.

To learn more about GEO Reentry’s approach, click here.