Virginia Sheriffs want information as thousands of prisoners are released from prison

Posted at 8:24 PM, Nov 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-02 20:24:51-05

RICHMOND, VA -- In a historic move, over 6,000 nonviolent drug offenders were released from prison over the weekend.

The move is part of President Obama's plan to reduce the nation's prison population.

"We've received a couple phone calls, a young lady in Farmville reached out," Richard Walker, a former inmate himself who now runs Bridging the Gap in Virginia, a non profit that aims to help prisoners reenter into society.

"They're going to experience barriers," Walker said. "They need to stay focused."

Of the nearly 6600 prisoners released, according to the Washington Post 163 are Virginians.

Walker suspects most will spend the first 90 days at the federal halfway house in Newport News.

But the release of the prisoners is also causing some concern.

"We haven't received any information about it," John Jones with the Virginia Sheriff Association said.

Jones said Sheriffs are worried they don't know where these inmates are being released to and that they aren't receiving the proper materials that  prevents them from re-offending.

"That basically moves the inmate from the federal system to the local system," Jones added.

CBS 6 reached out to the Bureau of Prisons Monday for specific information on where the inmates will be. We were told that information is not released because of privacy concerns.

But Richmond Commonwealth Attorney Mike Herring said he has few concerns that the inmates released will re-offend.

"I'm less troubled than I might have been," Herring said.

Herring pointed to the fact that each release was scrutinized by a federal judge and that the general public should not be worried, especially here in Richmond.

"I don't think the community is at risk because these sentences have been reduced by a few years," Herring said, alluding to the fact that most of these inmates have served over 8 years behind bars.