Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Jail Alternative Recommendations Ready for Consideration

Richmond CCJB finalizing plans to present to City leadership

The Richmond Community Criminal Justice Board (RCCJB) will meet to vote on the 2011-2012 Biennial Plan which focuses on alternatives to incarceration on Wednesday, June 9 at 3:30 p.m. The plan is being prepared to present to city leadership following Mayor Dwight C. Jones' charge for a review of alternatives and request for recommendations.

Last year, Mayor Jones, city officials and RCCJB members visited alternatives to incarceration models in three other cities. "The current overcrowding conditions at the City Jail have been a huge problem in the city for years," said Mayor Jones. "I'm convinced that the proper application of alternatives will successfully reduce our jail population and connect individuals to the services they need."

High priority recommendations expected to be presented today include:

Increase the capacity of specialty housing and homeless programs targeted to offenders with a history of homelessness or housing instability. Increase the number of permanent supportive housing beds in the city.

Explore a special docket for non-violent offenders with mental illness. Increase the capacity of mental health services for these offenders.

Increase the capacity of substance abuse treatment and recovery programs for offenders involved in diversion or alternatives to incarceration.

Implement best-practice pre-trial and community-based programs that reduce incarceration for low impact offenses.

The overall goal of this Biennial Plan is to reduce the jail census by approximately 400 persons, to connect individuals to treatment, and to achieve economies of scale in the use of best practice alternatives to traditional incarceration. The RCCJB meets today at 3:30 p.m. at 3600 West Broad Street.

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Mayor's Pedestrian, Bicycling and Trails Planning Commission Holds Inaugural Meeting Today

Pursuant to Mayor’s Order #2010-02, Mayor Dwight C. Jones has established a Pedestrian, Bicycling and Trails Planning Commission. This commission was established to provide city administration advice on ways to incorporate bicycling and walking as viable methods of transportation in the city of Richmond. The commission will hold its inaugural meeting today at 2 p.m. in the 2nd floor large conference room of City Hall, 900 East Broad Street.

“According to the City of Richmond Transportation Plan and the City of Richmond Master Plan 2000 – 2020, the city’s current transportation system is not friendly to pedestrians and bicyclists,” said Mayor Jones. “There are limited pedestrian or bicycle routes with limited signage; a lack of walking and bicycle maps and park and lock facilities; limited venues for the ease of exercise for disabled residents; and a lack of pedestrian and bicycle safety education resources.”

The recommendations made by the commission will lead to the creation of a Richmond City Pedestrian, Bicycling and Trails Plan that will include education, safety and public awareness components.

“It is my hope that this plan will improve the environment by reducing the city’s dependence on motor vehicles, reduce traffic by getting more cars off of the roads, and improve the health of our residents by promoting physical activity,” said the Mayor.

The commission will hold its inaugural meeting today under the direction of the city’s Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Human Services Dr. Carolyn Graham. Commission members include City Councilman Doug Conner, Dr. Carolyn Graham, Viktoria Badger, Champe Burnley, Nathan Burrell, Mark Cooper, Shane Cusick, Ralph Davis, Dr. Sheryl Finucane, Dr. Sylvia Gale, Murty Gollakota, Laurie Mehler, Paz Ochs, Jay Paul, Dr. Kimberly Perry, Tyler Potterfield, Karen Reed, Greg Rollins, Jennifer Wampler, Charles Ward, Dr. Michael Welch, and Alicia Zatcoff. The Commission will also be supported by a cross-functional team made-up of representatives from the departments of Public Works, Budget and Strategic Planning, Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities, Human Services, and Economic and Community Development.

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Monday, June 7, 2010

Regional and Corporate Study to Begin This Week on the Future of the Richmond Coliseum

The firms of Barrett Sports Group, LLC., Populous and Weston Sports have been contracted to jointly conduct a Market Validation and Financial Feasibility study on the future of the Richmond Coliseum. The corporate and public partners of Altria Group Inc., Dominion Resources Inc., Genworth Financial Inc., MeadWestvaco, and the City of Richmond, unanimously chose the team after conducting a series of interviews with the four finalists. Chesterfield County, Hanover County and Henrico County have been supportive of these efforts.

“This is the first step towards charting the city’s and region’s direction where our coliseum needs are concerned,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “This type of regional and corporate partnership is a sign of our strong metropolitan region. Collaboration such as this will aid us as we prepare for future growth while providing a quality sports and entertainment venue for the residents of Central Virginia.”

The Barrett team had extensive and direct experience in performing similar studies for a variety of sports venues throughout the country. Barrett Sports Group is a boutique consulting firm providing strategic management consulting services to the sports and entertainment industry. Populous is the largest sports architecture firm in the world, offering comprehensive design services, master planning, interior design, sustainable design consulting, environmental graphics and way-finding, and facilities operations analysis. Weston Sports and Entertainment is a professional consulting firm specializing in the construction, development and management of sports arenas and multi-purpose venues.

The Barrett team will be inspecting the Richmond Coliseum and conducting a kick-off meeting with the Coliseum Study Group this week. It is the intent of the Coliseum Study Group to perform the study and deliver a report within a 12 to 16 week period. The corporate partners have agreed to pay for the study which is estimated to cost no more than $150,000.

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