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A Day on Capitol Hill - Reducing Recidivism through Mental Health Counseling

In April, Jessenia Pagan, CCC Behavioral Health Program Manager, attended a Congressional briefing on Capitol Hill to talk about CCC’s Healthy Relationship and Anger Management group counseling programs and their impact on individuals who could or have faced incarceration. The briefing focused on The Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2024, which was introduced to the House of Representatives on April 16 with bipartisan support.

 

“If the second chance act is reauthorized, funds could be used towards a variety of mental health programs including individual and family counseling,” said Pagan. “The primary goal of attending the briefing was to talk about our counseling program and group services and explain how our programs assist individuals as they integrate back into society and return home after incarceration with the tools to lead healthy, productive lives.” 

 

Three adults standing at the Russell Senate Office Building
Jessenia Pagan, Cory Winfield, Baltimore Safe Streets Site Director, and Christy Williams, JD., CCUSA Director of Social Policy and Government Affairs

Recidivism, or the tendency of an offender to relapse into crime, was one of the big discussion topics for the briefing. Virginia currently has a 23.4% recidivism rate, one of the lowest in the country. 

 

There are a variety of factors that affect recidivism," said Pagan. “However, we know that more than half of all incarcerated people have some sort of mental health issue. Our department works closely with Probation Officers and other Virginia Department of Correction personnel to provide low-cost counseling and group services. My goal was to communicate to our leaders on the Hill that our team is committed, not only to serving the community, but to assist them in keeping recidivism rates on a downward trend by providing the tools to heal trauma and strengthen relationship. Supporting offenders in their journey towards success saves lives."

 

CCC's counseling team currently leads 23 counseling groups, which assist approximately 350 individuals each week. 

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