UPDATE: July 8, 2021
Beginning Monday July 12, 2021, the Roanoke City Sheriff’s Office (RCSO) will begin slowing allowing external visitors back into the Roanoke City Jail (RCJ). While continuing to follow the CDC guidance for congregate settings, a phased-in approach will begin the re-opening process.
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, on-site inmate programming halted to keep the incarcerated population and RCSO staff safe. Starting July 12, RCJ will be open to religious visitors and volunteers with hopes all programs will resume by August 1, 2021. Attorneys, court officials, and any other official visitor will also be able to enter the RCJ for contact visit with a mandatory mask requirement. RCJ will maintain the extensive cleaning schedule in the shared areas of the facility. Staff, inmates (outside of housing areas) and visitors are REQUIRED to wear a mask inside the building.
Currently, 35% of the inmate population have received a COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccines are available once a month to the current inmate population with the goal of being obtainable to everyone upon admittance to the facility. As of July 8, 2021, there has not been an active COVID cases in our inmate population since March 2021. In regards to staff and active COVID, there has not been a positive since May 2021. The Roanoke City Sheriff’s Office continues to test all new intakes, symptomatic individuals and follow the same COVID quarantine guidelines listed in previous press releases.
The RCSO continues to work closely with Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and monitoring of the CDC guidelines for correctional facilities.
For COVID-19 specific questions regarding the Roanoke City Jail, you may call (540) 853-1761
Monday through Friday 8:00am – 4:30pm. You may also submit a question through our website at roanokeva.gov/sheriff.
Currently, the Sheriff’s Office Lobby will remain closed to the public.
Update: August 13, 2020:
As the number of positive COVID-19 cases continues to rise in our valley, the health and safety of our staff and those individuals in our care remain a top priority for the Roanoke City Sheriff’s Office (RCSO). The staff of the RCSO, as noted in a media release on January 13, 2021, have already begun to receive the first dose of the vaccine and will begin receiving their second dose as early as February 11, 2021.
On January 25 and January 26, 20201, a Point Prevalence Survey was completed as per the recommendations of the VDH. A press release sent to the media on January 28, 2021 noted the results of that survey. This aggressive testing approach assists in identifying asymptomatic individuals, and therefore helps minimize the spread of COVID-19 within the facility. Additionally, the information obtained from this proactive testing measure will help us further develop and modify our comprehensive plan to protect our inmates and staff accordingly.
The RCSO continues to work closely with the VDH, and routinely receives and implements the guidance provided on the most effective ways to manage and mitigate exposure within the correctional facility. We will continue to conduct routine testing of everyone in the facility, until such time as there are no positive test results, or when it is considered safe to discontinue.
In order to slow or prevent the spread of the virus, several programs will remain suspended – Adult and Children’s Visitation, recreation, and on-site group programs. In an effort to alleviate some of the stresses this pandemic has caused, all inmates will be provided with two (2) free video visits and two (2) free five (5) minute phone calls per week. Library and education services will continue to operate in a modified manner. In addition to previous masks provided, all classified inmates have been provided a KN-95 mask to help prevent the spread of the virus.
We are currently making the necessary arrangements to have the COVID-19 vaccine available to all inmate who wish to receive it. As an added incentive, we will be providing free commissary packs to inmates who receive the vaccine. The pack includes items frequently purchased by a majority of inmates.
The Roanoke City Jail maintains the extensive cleaning schedule both in inmate housing, as well as shared areas in the facility. In addition, extra cleaning supplies are provided to inmates and they urged to disinfect their living areas and bathrooms routinely.
For COVID-19 specific questions regarding the Roanoke City Jail, please call (540) 853-1761 Monday through Friday 8:00am – 4:30pm. You may also submit a question through our website at roanokeva.gov/sheriff.
Update: August 13, 2020:
The Sheriff's Office has added a page specific to COVID-19 and how the department is managing the virus. Please see the updated Press Release that is located in that tab on the left hand side.
We are working on setting up more information in this tab within the next few days. We will also be adding a submission form for questions. Keep checking back for the most up to date questions.
Please contact (540) 853-1761 should you have any COVID related questions.
To contact the Sheriff's Office directly for any questions you might have, please click here.
Update: April 7, 2020:
City of Roanoke citizens:
Thank you all for your care and concerns for our staff and incarcerated population during this time of crisis. These are difficult decisions to make and they are never easy, however we are erring on the side of caution and looking to protect lives by implementing new procedures as required by the most reliable facts surrounding the virus. Listed below is the most up to date policies and procedures addressing COVID-19 prevention and mitigation.
All individuals entering the facility are subjected to prescreening. Sheriff’s staff, contractors, vendors and City of Roanoke employees must answer a verbal questionnaire, as well as temporal screening. If they show signs or symptoms, according to the CDC, of COVID-19, they will be sent home from work and required to not return until medically cleared by professionals. New intakes to the Roanoke City Jail will go through an enhanced pre-screening prior to being admitted. This screening includes a verbal and temporal screening. Any new intake that shows symptoms will likely remain in the jails’ custody, however, depending on the extent of the circumstances, extensive medical care will be provided. If an inmate(s), current or new, require the need for quarantine, there are plans in place with housing locations that will allow for isolation from the general population. The jail is in possession of (PPE) personal protective equipment should the need arise.
In regards to the Roanoke City Jail, we have enhanced our cleaning procedures to giving the offenders proper cleaning supplies for their individual and shared living spaces multiple times a day. We are encouraging good hygiene by offering no cost soap and extra paper towels. Precautions have been taken regarding the cleaning of shared property, such as telephones, tablets and video visitation kiosks. We have work crews that continue to enhance and maintain the cleanliness of the work and office spaces, as well as public spaces such as the lobbies and magistrate offices. Staff, as well as inmates, have been educated on the importance of good hygiene and hand washing.
The suspension of programs is in the best interest of not spreading the virus. Unfortunately, most of our providers that instruct our programs come from outside our facility. For the safety of both our offenders and staff, we had to suspend the contact visits and group settings because of the way the virus spreads. We have explored and implemented other options to keep them busy, such as crossword puzzles, increased library operations, extra phone calls and increased days of video visitation. We have also waived medical co pays for COVID 19 symptoms. The therapeutic pod is a very vulnerable part of our population. We also still have mental health staff on site, with tele doc capabilities as well for the added need.
Regarding the 10 person limitations, unfortunately with the design of our facility and the population count, that cannot be done per pod. When possible, offenders are only housed one per cell. It is recommended to them if they have a cell mate, to sleep head to toe in the bunks.
However, the court system continues to look at offenders' sentences and cases to get inmates released early when feasible. The Roanoke Sheriff’s Office is working closely with the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, Public Defenders Office and the Chief Judge of Circuit Court to look ahead to best release offenders.
Roanoke Sheriff’s Office administration meets daily to keep the department updated on safety recommendations and to implement new procedures. We remain in constant communication with our community, state and regional partners. Our focus has been and will continue to remain on reducing the exposure of this virus to our inmates, staff and general public, while conducting the essential functions of the Sheriff’s Office. We hope as we learn more about the virus, that we can grow and adapt our organization as needed.
Please remember to practice all health and safety precautions as we deal with this serious issue.
Updated: March 19, 2020: Due to the health concerns involving COVID-19, the Roanoke Sheriff's Office lobby, as well as the lobby of the Civil Process Division will be CLOSED to the public to protect the health of our staff and the citizens. If you have questions regarding a civil paper, please call (540) 853-2721. If you need Sheriff Allen or the Administration team, please call (540) 853-5347. Thank you for your patience and understanding at this time. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Updated March 16, 2020: Effective immediately: All attorney and professional visits will be NON-CONTACT only. Please contact Cpt. Monica Perkins if you have any questions.
Updated March 16, 2020: Fingerprinting services will be suspended for at least 30 days.
Updated March 13, 2020: Attorney and Professional will remain the same.
Updated March 12, 2020: While there are no positive cases of Coronavirus currently in Southwest Virginia, we know many citizens are concerned. We are committed to the health and safety of our personnel, volunteers and those incarcerated in the Roanoke City Jail and Annex. We are being proactive and will begin temporary changes that affect the department’s everyday operation. Some of the steps we are taking are as follows:
- Enhanced arrestee medical pre-screening process
- The Weekender Program will be suspended until April 25, 2020
- Suspended court ordered workforce program until April 25, 2020
- Suspended outside inmate work crews until further notice
- Suspending all outside volunteer programs until further notice
- Enhanced daily cleaning to maintain a sanitary environment for staff, inmates and the general public
- Physical visitation on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays suspended until further notice. Video Visitation will be made available during those times
- Ensuring sufficient cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment for the facility
We hope these steps bring you some comfort and assurance of our effort to keep our inmates, staff and public healthy.
All persons entering the Roanoke City Sheriff's Office, Courts, and Jail maybe subject to a personal search.
No electronic devices are allowed in the Roanoke City Courts or Jail. This includes, but is not limited to cell phones, tablets, laptops and smart watches.
The Roanoke City Jail is closed to the public from 11:00 to 12:30 PM daily.
**As of March 12, 2020 -physical visitation is suspended until further notice. Additional video visits will be made available. ** As of June 1, 2018 visitation at the Roanoke City Jail on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday evenings will begin at 7:30 p.m. and end at 11:00 p.m. The previous start time for visitation on these evenings was 7:00 p.m.