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Frequently Asked Questions


What is the Roanoke Valley Detention Commission?

The Roanoke Valley Detention Commission consists of the member jurisdictions comprised of the cities of Roanoke and Salem, and the counties of Roanoke, Botetourt, and Franklin. The Commission was created to collectively address the increased need for secure detention space for juveniles in the Roanoke Valley. After years of evaluation and planning, the Commission agreed to purchase the existing 21-bed facility and property from the City of Roanoke and construct and renovate a state of the art secure detention facility, the Roanoke Valley Juvenile Detention Center.


What does the Roanoke Valley Juvenile Detention Center (RVJDC) do?

The Roanoke Valley Juvenile Detention Center provides care for juveniles who are awaiting final disposition in court. In some instances, juveniles are sentenced to the Center for periods up to six months in an effort to provide local services as an alternative to their commitment to a juvenile correctional center.


Who licenses the Center?

The Center is licensed by the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice, Department of Social Services, Department of Mental Health and Retardation, and the Department of Education, all of which have strict standards of compliance.


What kinds of services are provided for juveniles housed at the Center?

The Center provides a variety of services, such as, vocational and social skill development, substance abuse education, victim sensitivity, recreation, mediation, anger management, counseling, voluntary religious programs, medical and mental health evaluation and care, and education.


Is the Center safe?

Yes. The new facility is a state-of-the-art secure facility constructed to meet the highest standards for the construction of detention centers. The building is primarily of concrete block that is reinforced with steel rebar and concrete. Doors are made of heavy steel designed to meet the highest security standards. A Central Control Room Operator monitors movement inside and outside the building via security cameras that have been strategically located in and around the premises. The outer perimeter of the property is secured by chain link fence.

How many juveniles are housed at the Center?

The Center has eighty-one (81) beds for detainees divided among six (6) living units (pods).


Who pays for the costs of construction and operations?

Member jurisdictions pay for the care and custody of the detainees in the Center in the form of a per diem. Additionally, the Department of Juvenile Justice pays approximately one third of the operational costs annually. Grants represent a small portion of the Center’s annual revenue.


Who are our employees?

The Center employees and staff are very competent and highly trained in their respective jobs. The Center employs security and childcare staff, social workers, medical personnel, support staff, cooks, maintenance workers, laundry workers, administrators, transportation workers, and teachers. We are fortunate to employee some of the Valley’s most dedicated individuals who are committed to the welfare of youth and the protection of our community.


What is our Mission?

The Roanoke Valley Juvenile Detention Center seeks to provide secure custody and care of juveniles in a safe, healthy environment, giving intense supervision and counseling in both the facility and community, protecting the community and beginning the rehabilitative process by promoting personal, social and emotional growth.


How long do juveniles stay in detention?

The length of stay (LOS) varies depending on the nature of the charges, appropriateness and availability of less secure placements, appeals, etc. Many detainees just stay overnight, but typically, juveniles stay about 17 days before the court releases them.


What is the typical day like for a detainee?

The days are highly structured. Most days begin with a wake up call around 6:50 AM. Detainees clean up their rooms, wash up, and eat breakfast. After inspection, detainees assemble for school, say the Pledge of Allegiance, and go to their first period class. After three class periods, detainees eat lunch and take a short break. At noon, detainees are back in class until 2:55 PM. They take another short break and then prepare for outdoor recreation or other activities. Before dinner, detainees participate in psycho-educational groups (life skills, victim sensitivity, anger management, substance abuse education, etc.). Detainees have dinner around 4:45 PM followed by studying or playing quiet games, making phone calls, and writing letters. Around 6:00 PM, detainees discuss the day’s events, take showers, and have an hour long activity such as attend volunteer religious programs, watch educational TV, or play games. Detainees then have a small snack and prepare for bed around 8:30 PM. Detainees who earn enough points during the day, get to stay up until 9:30 PM.


What are the kids like in detention?

For the most part, they have the same thoughts, feelings, and concerns as any other teenager. They have families, girlfriends or boyfriends, attend church, go to school, etc. They’re teenagers and they act like teenagers.

It would not be honest if we didn’t acknowledge that some of the detainees have serious charges and serious problems and they need serious attention and help. Some are assaultive, some are suicidal, some are withdrawn, some are drug addicted, some are pregnant, and some have serious medical or mental health conditions. During the past few years, we’ve seen an increase in the number of young people placed in detention with serious or violent offenses and anincrease in the number of young people placed in detention while under a doctor’s care and taking psychotropic medications.


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