CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
With the support of our community leaders, to include our commonwealth attorneys, jail officials, probation, etc., we have expanded our services to include criminal justice reform where we are creating a model to turn criminal intent and behavior into social and economic success, removing barriers, and minimizing the stigma associated with justice-involved individuals and families. We are also addressing alternative sentencing solutions to minimize future involvement in the criminal justice system, reduce incarceration rates and the rate of recidivism, promote savings to taxpayers, foster a sense of autonomy and self-determination, and serve as in lieu of or condition of probation.
Recent legislation combined with the pandemic has caused for a more expedient release of inmates. Without consistent and sustained coordination and community collaboration, we will not be successful at implementing reformative strategies that return productive citizens to our community. The ARC model will not only address this effort but is also designed to trade criminal intent and behavior for social and economic success, remove barriers that prevent returning citizens from becoming successful and productive citizens in our communities, bring restorative justice into the jail and schools while at the same time promote public safety and address disparate treatment and impact, racial profiling, and unfair sentencing.
Justice-involved individuals face multiple challenges and hardships, making social integration into the community problematic and achievement in society often impossible, which is both harmful to the community and expensive for the taxpayers. These returning citizens face many challenges in obtaining housing, mental health and substance abuse services, employment, transportation, and education that it takes a concerted effort to create a successful reentry. Unaddressed issues often cause increased obstacles in their path to successful reentry into the community, causing a higher rate of recidivism.
While methods of prevention have been identified, there are gaps in the ways in which returning citizens needs are addressed. Individuals often experience trauma in their lifetime, to include incarceration as a traumatic event. Those experiences coupled with a mental health diagnosis or active addiction make one’s transition into the community especially difficult. There is a need for wrap-around services to begin while the person is incarcerated to increase their chances of a successful reentry. The services should extend for a minimum of six months after release to ensure proper transition and adequate mental health support.
The Taskforce’s objective is to remove barriers and minimize the stigma and impact of past convictions and criminal justice involvement; and to promote equity and fair treatment
If you are a leader in Virginia’s Planning District 16 and want to become a part of this very important initiative, please contact Juanita Shanks at 540-479-3021. The taskforce has designed the ARC Model to aid our returning citizens. In addition, we are addressing human rights, advocacy and prevention. Our current membership include, but is not limited to:
Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Office
Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania Commonwealth Attorneys office
County Boards of Supervisor (Stafford and Spotsylvania)
Fredericksburg Mayor office
Rappahannock Regional Jail
Probation and Parole
Pathways Family & Community Services
GWRC Discharge Planning
IAHR (Inter-Agency Faith for Human Rights
Office on Youth
Stafford public school
Virginia State Police
In the News
Fredericksburg-area criminal justice reform task force seeks mentors for youth
The Free Lance Star
Adele Uphaus–Conner 10/20/21
The Planning District 16 Criminal Justice Reform Taskforce, Prevention and Education Committee, is preventing generations of incarceration. FailSafe-ERA and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Fredericksburg are partnering together to provide mentors for children affected by incarceration. We are looking for positive role models with a desire to help our children grow and provide emotional support to better manage the stressors associated with having an incarcerated family member. Background checks will be required and training will be provided.
Presentations from the April 16, 2022 Criminal Justice Reform Forum
Community Health & Collaboration
Presented by Katina Howard, Care Resource Coordination, Rappahannock Area Health District
Virginia Department of Health
Expungement Pardons and Restoration of Rights
Presented by Ann H. Kloeckner, Esq.
Executive Director, Legal Aid Works, Fredericksburg, Virginia
Brain Health and Behavior Connection
Presented by Barbara Gustavson, Brain Health Coach and Trainer
A Liberation & Somatic Approach
Presented by Dr. Shekila Melchior, LPC-MHSP (TN), LPC (VA), NCC
George Mason University
Know Your Financial Rights
Presented by Brittany Kinsey, Financial Aid Specialist
Germanna Community College
Virginia Career Works
Presented by Jessica Weber, Virginia Career Works
Why Restorative Justice Matters
Presented by Deb Andrus-Lokrantz, MA, Restorative Justice Coordinator