NRV agencies host family reunification event for recently released citizens

RADFORD, Va. (WDBJ) - Making the transition easier. Some local agencies are working to help people get their life on track after serving time in jail.

Anthony West grew up in a single-parent household. He turned to selling drugs to support his younger siblings, leading to his incarceration from 1993 to 1996.

Flash forward to now, and he's the Chief Operations Officer of Virginia CARES, a statewide offender re-entry program. But he says he couldn't have gotten to where he is today without community support.

"Without the community and the resources, it would be doubly challenging for returning citizens to be successful out here in the community," West explained.

So Virginia CARES and the New River Valley Re-Entry Council held a Family Reunification Event for recently released citizens and their families to gather resources and information. The event was held at the New River Valley Community Services Radford site.

"By bringing in all the different resources that can help, then the community resources are available right from the start," Doug Irvin, Chief of Probation and Parole in Radford for the Virginia Department of Corrections, said.

West spoke as a panelist, sharing his message of hope.

"Never give up, always continue to work with your resources, work with your family, work with whoever you can that's going to challenge you and inspire you to do better, because the last thing we need is somebody going back to incarceration, it doesn't help them, it doesn't help the community, and it certainly doesn't help the commonwealth," West said.

Those who attended left with care packages, including toiletries and other items to help them better transition back everyday life.