Citizen Involvement & Volunteer ServicesIt is the policy of the Roanoke City Jail to use volunteers to enhance and expand the services and programs offered to the inmates. The jail's volunteer program encourages increased personal contact for the inmate, broadens community resources for the jail and increases public awareness of the functions and responsibilities of the Sheriff's Office. Volunteers are used effectively in such program areas as education, religious activities, and specialized programs such as substance abuse. Volunteer services provide superior services in an economical way and fosters community support. The jail's rehabilitation counselor is responsible for the recruiting, orientation and training of all volunteers. The jail's security staff is responsible for transporting inmates to and from programs and providing security for the inmates and volunteers when programs are in session.
Inmate Work ProgramsThe Roanoke City Jail maintains an inmate work program, which includes daily maintenance of the jail, housekeeping, laundry, painting, canteen operations, public service and food service operations. The principal value of trustee programs is in the opportunities they provide for the development and/or reviving of skills and work habits instrumental in the inmate's successful occupational adjustment in the community. The various routine cleaning and other housekeeping chores must be performed by inmates on a day-to-day basis to maintain the jail, but some intramural work assignments, i.e. food service, painting, laundry or other duties, offer inmates the opportunities to receive a form of vocational training. These vocational training opportunities may provide the inmate with the necessary skills to obtain similar jobs in the free society.
Laundry ServicesThe Roanoke City Jail provides adequate staff, space, equipment and supply of inmate clothing for the operation of an efficient and effective laundry program. The program is designed to constantly meet the needs and demands of the inmate population. The laundry program is supervised by full time staff and is supplemented by inmate workers. The program is operated in accordance with the "Minimum Standards For Local Jails and Lockups" as adopted by the Board of Corrections and in accordance with existing state and local laws. Clothing and linens are transported to inmates in their housing areas where they are exchanged. Inmates are held accountable for all clothing issued.
Pre-Release ProgramIt is the policy of the Roanoke City Sheriff's Office to provide a program for those inmates being released from the jail to enhance their chances for successful reintegration into the community. This program allows inmates to request information concerning available programs, services and assistance in the community following their release. Information includes, but is not limited to, the following areas:
- Alcohol and substance abuse treatment
- Financial aid
- Handicap or mental retardation services
- Housing, food, and clothing
- Legal advice
- Medical services and care
- Offender programs
- Religious programs
Community Diversion ProgramsThe Sheriff's Office provides information, space, security and assistance for the administration of court-ordered community diversion programs.
The jail's recreation program includes active, structured recreation, such as basketball, volleyball, weight lifting, etc. The recreation program is supervised by 2 full-time staff recreation officers responsible for ensuring all inmates are afforded recreational activities. There is a gymnasium, weight room, and outdoor recreational area in both the main jail and the jail annex to accommodate each of these populations. Each inmate housing area has a pod day room equipped with tables, chairs, television, phones and various table games. The inmates are allowed to participate in exercises such as running in place and set ups and push ups in the pod day rooms. Inmates have continuous access to the day rooms each day from 6 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Out of cell recreation is provided 5 times a week to those inmates housed in segregation cells without access to a pod area.
It is the policy of the Roanoke City Sheriff's Office to provide space, equipment, clerical support and supplies, as approved by the Sheriff, adequate for the administration of religious programming within the jail. The Roanoke Valley Minister's Conference provides the Roanoke City Jail with 2 ministers designated as the jail chaplains who, with the assistance of the jail rehabilitation counselor, coordinate all religious programming and provide training for religious volunteers. The chaplains have the qualifications of a clinical pastoral education and administer to every inmate regardless of the inmate's religious beliefs or affiliation. Inmates are afforded the right to participate in the practices of their religious faith, limited only by documentation the practice is a threat to the order, safety or security of the jail and persons within.
Special religious diets are available upon written request. When an inmate's faith is not represented through the jail chaplains or volunteers, the rehabilitation counselor will attempt to contact a minister of the inmate's faith. The person contacted shall have the appropriate credentials from the faith judicatory and may minister to the inmate in accordance with existing policy and procedures. Various community volunteers representing 10 church and other religious organizations, including Islamic Instruction, participate in religious programming. Individual counseling services are available from the jail rehabilitation counselor, the jail chaplain, 25 ministers from community churches, volunteers from the Prison Fellowship and other community incarceration programs.
Work/Study Release Program
§53.1-13-one of the Code of Virginia provides the Roanoke City Jail with the authority to administer a Work/Study Release Program. This program establishes an incentive for active participation in a rehabilitation program to ease reintegration into the community. Inmates are allowed to keep and maintain a job while providing financial support for himself/herself and dependents. Allowing inmates the opportunity to benefit from self worth motivates them to change attitudes which originally brought the inmate into conflict with the laws of society. The jail's work release coordinator is responsible for the administration of this program, which is operated out of the first floor dormitory.
Assistance Provided for Other Agencies
The Roanoke City Jail provides space, assistance and services to other agencies to prepare inmates for release. The services include, but are not limited to, the following programs.
Department of Corrections (D.O.C.)
The records section works closely with the D.O.C. to provide updated information of jail credits and the jail adjustment records of inmates. This section also makes recommendations to the administration of good time awards for state felons confined in local jails. The Records Section assists the D.O.C. in obtaining a release plan from the inmate and provides the inmate a copy of all documents regarding the inmate's release date. The Sheriff's Office provides space, equipment, security and assistance to the institutional parole officer during his/her visits with inmates at the jail.
Probation & Parole
The Sheriff's Office provides space, security and assistance to probation officers during individual inmate interviews and probation/parole hearings. Upon request, the Office of Probation and Parole has provided appropriate assistance and information regarding inmate jail adjustment records and program participation for background investigations conducted for pre-sentence hearings.