Narrative of Origin and History
According to agency archives, the Roanoke Juvenile Detention Home was the first detention home in the Commonwealth of Virginia dating back to the early 1920’s. Initially, private residences were used to provide custodial care of juveniles who were pending disposition of court hearings before the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
In 1926, a detention facility was constructed on Rorer Avenue in Roanoke and served as the detention program’s home until 1961. In 1961, the detention home moved to its present location at Coyner Springs. Since 1961 the home has underwent three renovations prior to purchase of the property by the Roanoke Valley Detention Commission in 1999.
The various needs of juveniles have changed significantly over the past seventy-five years. In the 1920’s, the Home provided custodial care for juveniles for less serious offenses or status offenses. In 1960, the Home began to offer a moderately structured program of care designed to meet the physical and emotional needs of the detained juveniles. Today, the Roanoke Valley Juvenile Detention Center provides a highly structured program of care in a state-of-the-art facility.
In 1999, the Roanoke Valley Detention Commission, consisting of cities of Roanoke and Salem, and the counties of Franklin, Botetourt, and Roanoke, purchased the existing building and property from the City of Roanoke as part of a regional cooperative effort to renovate and expand the facility from 21 detainee beds to 81 beds. In the spring of 1999, construction began on a modern detention facility, which would serve the Valley’s member jurisdictions. In June 2000, operations of a newly constructed section of the Center began as construction continued on the second phase of the construction project. Phase two of construction was completed in June 2001.