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Message From the Superintendent

    Welcome to the Roanoke Valley Juvenile Detention Center’s website. We are excited to have this forum to educate the public about our facility and programs and to have an avenue to promote detention best practices.

    Detention services are a vital part of Virginia’s system of juvenile justice. While detention programs are not highly visible within the system, detention provides numerous services and programs designed to meet the physical, psychological, emotional, and educational needs of youth detained by the courts. Detention may be a youth’s first exposure to adults in authority roles who have legitimate concerns about their present condition and future. To that end, detention personnel must be equipped with a wide array of skills and abilities that prepare them to meet the needs of today’s youth in a safe, secure and structured environment, all-the-while, modeling, counseling, listening, teaching, and simply caring for today’s youth—tomorrow’s adults.

    Juvenile detention is a public service that can best be described as a hybrid service. A milieu of services are provided for juveniles within the context of two primary categories: predisposition and post-disposition. Since the majority of juveniles housed in detention are predisposition or pre-adjudicatory, meaning that the juveniles have not been sentenced, staff are challenged to deliver services that are non-correctional or non-punitive within a very controlled or structured environment. Post-disposition juveniles, or sentenced juveniles, receive many of the same services as predisposition juveniles; however, a treatment plan provides for the delivery of a variety of services in the community.

    The responsibilities of direct care staff are great. These workers provide constant surveillance and supervision of detainees, mediate detainee conflicts, provide informal counseling, conduct psycho-educational groups, structure recreation, provide housekeeping, and more. The nature of these duties require that direct care staff become proficient communicators, keen observers, physically and mentally conditioned, and effective and efficient decision makers.

    Additional demands of direct care staff are made in terms of interpersonal sensitivity. Staff must equip themselves with an understanding of diverse populations from both a socioeconomic and cultural perspective. Staff may work with juveniles detained for murder to shoplifting, all within the same living environment. Staff must understand the culture of Appalachian juveniles from rural Virginia and understand the language and demeanor of more urban populations.

    Our understanding of the past and our commitment to the future challenges us to educate the public of our unique role within Virginia’s system of restorative justice. Roanoke Valley Juvenile Detention Center personnel take their responsibilities seriously and it is our intent to promote an understanding of the work we do and to provide an avenue to promote best practices within our field. We hope you will visit our website often as we endeavor to inform the public about our work.


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