And now, a short break from transportation taxes… I’ve been blogging recently about what Virginia can do to ease the reentry of jail and prison inmates into society, both salvaging lives and saving taxpayer dollars by reducing recidivism. Lisa Kinny, director of communications for the Virginia Department of Corrections, has informed me of a recent innovation, inmate savings accounts.
Governor [Bob] McDonnell pushed legislation, which became effective in January 2012, to establish a mandatory reentry savings account for each prisoner in the state system. Writes Kinney:
Under the new legislation, the Department of Corrections withholds 10 percent of any funds received by an inmate (e.g., funds from family and friends or wages from work inside the prison) in a reentry savings account until it has accrued a balance of $1,000.00. Once the balance is obtained, an offender may exceed the savings account balance and continue to save funds. The funds are held in a special trust account and provided to the offender upon parole or final discharge. The funds are intended to help with initial reentry expenses.
The accounts do not apply to locally operated jails, over which the DOC has no jurisdiction.
It appears that McDonnell has championed many positive reforms of the state corrections system that have garnered little attention. I laud him for these efforts. If he’d stuck with fixing state prisons rather than “fixing” the state’s transportation-funding system, we’d all be better off.