Governor Bob McDonnell announced today a milestone in a partnership between the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the Virginia Department of Corrections (DOC) that supports the administration's ongoing work to improve the prisoner re-entry system in the Commonwealth. Through the outreach program called "DMV Connect" more than 2,000 identification cards have now been processed for offenders preparing for release. Virginia now has the second lowest recidivism rate in the country at 23.4%.
Through DMV Connect, correctional facilities, and jails identify individuals slated for release within a few months and facilitate collection of the needed personal documents and DMV applications for Virginia ID cards. DMV employees carry inside the facility a customized case that contains a laptop, camera, and other equipment needed to complete transactions. Only requiring electricity and an Internet connection, the teams securely process real-time transactions. The new ID card is mailed from a secure central location to the facility.
Governor McDonnell praised the DMV Connect program saying, "One of the main reasons former offenders find themselves back in jail is because it can be difficult to re-enter mainstream life after incarceration. Identification is necessary to secure jobs, open bank accounts, enter public buildings, obtain benefits, and rent or own a home. By allowing these individuals to leave a facility with a credential in hand, the state is helping place them on the right track for a positive future."
The DMV Connect program first launched in March of 2012 at the Deep Meadow Correctional Center in Powhatan County. DMV Connect visits a dozen state facilities on a monthly basis and is now processing credentials for offenders preparing for release in about half of Virginia's 49 correctional facilities. By the end of the year, DMV Connect employees will have visited all state correctional centers to test connectivity with future plans to process credentials in those locations. DMV Connect is also present in one federal facility and serves a number of Sheriff's Offices and regional jails.
Due the success of DMV Connect, in the future, this program will expand to offer services at additional locations to reach more Virginians.