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Virginia Department of Corrections — Public Safety First

Offender Management Overview

An overview of the functions within the Department of Corrections that support and supervise offenders through the criminal justice process.

Arrest & Court Process

The offender's first exposure to the criminal justice process is usually with the police through an investigation and arrest. Unless assigned to bond, the offender is housed in a local jail throughout the court process.

Intake into the Corrections System

Once the court process is complete, the offender will be brought into the Department of Corrections within sixty days from the date of receipt of the final sentencing court order. Intake into the system will be in one of the Department's reception and classification facilities. While there, the offender will be evaluated, tested, interviewed, and classified to one of six security levels. The offender's institutional assignment within the Department will be to a prison that corresponds to the security level assigned. The offender's security level, good conduct earning level, program assignment and institutional assignment will be re-evaluated once each year at the annual review.

Assignment & Programs

Once assigned to a permanent institution, the offender has access to a full range of program opportunities. A treatment plan developed by the offender's treatment team outlines the programs deemed most appropriate to meet the offender's needs. Program offerings can range from a fulltime therapeutic community to work programs, education/vocational programs, and medical/psychological services. An offender who refuses to participate in assigned programming becomes ineligible to earn good conduct credit.

In addition to treatment programs offered, the offender has access to religious services, recreational programs, medical services, and individual counseling services. As part of the Department of Corrections' responsibility, the offender is also provided with food, clothing, and supervision. Offenders who work in institutional jobs are paid a small wage to provide spending money.

Assignment Changes

During incarceration, an offender's assignment should progress from more secure facilities to less secure facilities. Many participate in the work release program, jail work force programs, or even home electronic incarceration prior to his/her release.

Release - Community Supervision

In spite of changes in state law, an offender will be released from incarceration under some form of community supervision. An offender may be assigned to post release programs such as community-based substance abuse "halfway houses". Once in the community, the offender may be assigned to parole, probation, or post-release supervision under the auspices of the Department's local probation and parole staff.

The Department strives to provide a seamless transition of the offender from incarceration to community supervision. This includes continuation of treatment program involvement where possible. The information flow between institution and community staff is encouraged.

Throughout the incarceration process, the goal of the Department of Corrections is to prepare each offender for a successful release and return to a productive life in society.