Delegates Delores McQuinn, Lamont Bagby and Jeffrey Bourne recently visited the Richmond City Justice Center for a presentation and tour centered on Sheriff Woody’s Recovering from Everyday Addictive Lifestyles (REAL) program. The Delegates were provided a presentation on the REAL Program by Program Director Dr. Sarah Scarbrough, who outlined the various factors that often increase the likelihood of an individual being incarcerated, including child hood trauma and mental illness, as well as the steps The REAL Program takes to assist residents to leave the jail as better citizens, not better criminals. Afterwards, the Delegates were given a tour of the facility, and were able to speak with men and women in the REAL program.
“Having members of the General Assembly visit the Richmond Justice Center, see the program in action, and hear from the very people that it’s helping is extremely gratifying,” said Sheriff Woody. “We are showing elected officials that rehabilitation and recovery programs work, that they are doing good things for those people who want to change, but need help to do so. On top of this, the program residents were able to see and speak to officials who wield a great deal of legislative influence in the commonwealth, and were able to express to them the resources which would best help them post-release.”
Dr. Scarbrough, who facilitated both the presentation and the tour, was grateful for the question/answer session the residents were able to have with the Delegates. “Not only was it great to have these legislators come into the jail and see with their own eyes the strides were are making in the lives of so many with the rehabilitation and recovery options we have here, but it was also a very educational moment for our program men and women. Our residents having the opportunity to speak to sitting delegates in the General Assembly, and express their thoughts about rehabilitation, or any issue, is another step in the process of recovery, and eventually re-entry.”
The visit also touched on the mental health grant which was awarded to the Richmond City Sheriff’s Office earlier this year, thanks to funding appropriated by the General Assembly, as well as an aggressive initiative by Governor McAuliffe’s administration to ensure those who suffer from mental illness and low to mid functioning diagnosis have proper medical care in a correctional environment.