A jail in our area is trying to help inmates with upcoming release dates by preparing them for re-entry. The Western Virginia Regional Jail held its first re-entry resource fair.
Heather Seldomridge is a mom of three. She's also an inmate at the Western Virginia Regional Jail. Having been incarcerated before, Seldomridge knows how difficult the transition to outside life can be.
"Being in here for so long, going out into the community is hard," says Seldomridge.
That's why she's attending the re-entry resource fair-hoping to find the tools she needs on the inside to help with her transition to the outside.
"Being a felon, you know, it's harder to get good jobs so resources as in getting more schooling, that's important to me," says Seldomridge.
There were 34 organizations and businesses on hand at the fair to provide information on re-entry programs, substance abuse treatment, housing options, and even accepting prayer requests.
This is the first time the jail has held the re-entry resource fair. But perhaps, not the last.
"We'll be able to tell if these guys and girls don't come back. And we will check back with the organizations and see how many have followed up once they're out, so we're putting some measurements in place to see how successful we really are," says David Hollandsworth, re-entry coordinator at Western Virginia Regional Jail.
Superintendent Bobby Russell says he considers it a moral obligation to prevent re-incarceration and to ensure the success of those released from custody, by giving them resources and hope.
"I'm doing different programs that's helping me. So I think I have a better chance this time," says Seldomridge.
A chance to make it on the outside, and to stay there.
The fair was attended by 130 inmates who have a release date scheduled within the next six to eight months.