RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — On Friday, Senator Tim Kaine had a scheduled visit to Richmond to participate in a forum aimed at helping non-violent ex-cons reintegrate into society.
The round table discussion was held at the Richmond Public Library on 101 E. Franklin St. and included ex-cons telling their personal stories and challenges of re-entering the job market and their communities after incarceration.
Senator Kaine said there are many phases to re-integration and the transition should start even before inmates leave prison.
“When folks are about to leave, making sure that there is advice. Where do you go to get help, how do you come to know about great programs like the program here, too many people don’t understand that,” says Sen. Kaine.
Adult Alternative Program was also named as a co-host of the program. The Richmond organization works with former offenders, assisting them with obtaining training and other credentials that will assist with obtaining employment after incarceration.
“People want something to belong to and if they get out of prison and they don’t feel like there is any connection, no body has a hand out trying to help, they will fall back into the wrong path,” says Kaine.
Just last week, the Department of Justice announced that an estimated 6000 drug offenders will be released from federal prisons across the country by the end of the month.
Department of Justice officials say the vast majority of the inmates who will be released are non-violent criminals.
The forum in Richmond also had discussed ways in which expansion of resources can assist some non-violent offenders who have already been released with becoming positive contributors to their communities.