On November 4, 2015, the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail (VPRJ) celebrated their one year anniversary with the DMV Connect Program coming to the jail every other month. In the one year of this great program, 84 inmates started their reentry back into their communities with a Virginia State ID.
For the inmates, having their ID means they can secure housing, rent a hotel, get a job, go to the doctors, get medication and so much more. Inmates without their ID's are at a serious disadvantage as this is one of the greatest barriers for them to be able succeed upon release.
Inmate Jerome White says "What does an ID mean to me, it means I am who I say I am when I need to be verified," and inmate Christie Smith says "I lost everything when I came to jail …and getting a job is my plan and without an ID, it would be impossible."
The reason that the VPRJ is so successful with the DMV Connect Program is the incredible partnership between the DMV Connect staff, Brandon Gunnell, Becky Gimbel, and other DMV staff, VPRJ Corporals McCain, and Damron, along with other VPRJ staff, and Colonial Community Corrections (CCC) Reentry Coordinator, Victoria McWhorter.
The process of inmates obtaining their ID's begins with Ms. McWhorter sending a list of inmates to Corp. McCain who will be released within the 90 days of DMV Connect staff coming to the VPRJ. Corp. McCain will then takes several days to go into each POD and personally talk with the inmates on the list to determine if they need their state ID's. The inmates will complete the DMV form and Corp.
McCain will then upload and send the form and other inmate identification from VPRJ to Ms. Gimbel. Shortly thereafter, Corp. McCain and Ms. McWhorter will hear back from Ms. Gimbel if any inmate needs a birth certificate to continue the process of obtaining an ID. Ms. McWhorter will work with the inmate on how he or her can obtain their birth certificate.
On the day of the DMV Connect coming to the VPRJ, the staff will set up their equipment, Corp. McCain will work with other VPRJ Correction Officers to bring the inmates to the area. This process works so smoothly due to the collaboration among all VPRJ staff, DMV Connect staff, and CCC Reentry Coordinator. We are all very proud of being a part of VPRJ inmates taking their first step to a positive successful reentry into their community with their Virginia State ID.
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