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Proposed: Joint Juvenile Justice Center FAQ
The two facilities would be co-located on a 14-acre site at 920 Minuteman Drive. This is the former site of the Chesapeake Alternative School, and is located off Route 17 South, near Number Ten Lane. (View pictures of the proposed location.) The JJJC would replace Chesapeake's aging juvenile detention center known as Chesapeake Juvenile Services (CJS). The VDJJ would bring the Hampton Roads youths currently held in two VDJJ juvenile correctional centers closer to home.
Find information about the other proposed site at 3316 S. Military Highway.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is being proposed for construction at this site?
- Clarify the difference between a VDJJ operated juvenile correctional center and Chesapeake's current juvenile detention center?
- How did the project come about?
- How many juveniles will be housed?
- What makes this the best site for this facility?
- What about other uses for this site - is this the best use?
- Were other sites considered? Why were they rejected?
- How large is this site and what is it zoned for?
- Who will operate the Juvenile Justice Center - City, State or both?
- How is this proposed project being funded?
- What are the benefits to the City, State, juveniles and their families?
- What will the facility look like?
- Is the site appropriate for a major artery like Route 17 and will there be sufficient access to the site for staff and visitors?
- How many hours per day will each of the youth be in the recreation yard and what type of activities will they be doing? Are they supervised?
- What impact, if any, will the location of this facility have on property values for properties in the immediate vicinity?
- Will they all be from Chesapeake?
- What kinds of offenses would these juveniles be accused of committing?
- Where are the juveniles held now?
- Will the two populations be combined?
- How is this facility an improvement over the current system or facility?
- Will there be a lot of traffic from visitors, etc. to the facility?
- What security measures will be taken at the Joint Juvenile Justice Center?
- Will there be opportunities for the youth to interact with neighbors?
- On a typical day, what will the youth be doing?
- Will the youth leave the facility on a regular basis for activity or otherwise?
- What impacts will there be to the surrounding area - lights, noise, guards, alarms, etc?
- Will security cameras be used? Will they focus outside the facility boundaries?
- Will there be increased police presence around the facility on an on-going basis?
- What are the next steps in this process?
- How and when can citizens provide input on the process and facility?
- What is the target date for opening this facility?
- How can I submit my comments about this project?
- How can I learn more about this project?
The proposal is to build two facilities co-located on the property. One facility would be comprised of the CJS facility, and the other would be the VDJJ facility.
Clarify the difference between a VDJJ operated juvenile correctional center and Chesapeake's current juvenile detention center?
The VDJJ correctional centers house residents who have been committed to VDJJ care by a court. VDJJ provides a secure environment designed to prepare them for return to their communities with an enhanced ability to become productive citizens. The purpose of CJS is to provide safe, secure custody for juveniles charged with, or who have been found guilty of criminal offenses and who are awaiting further court action. Some juveniles are held while awaiting transportation to the VDJJ or other placements. The CJS operates a comprehensive program of detention services for the juvenile courts to help ensure the public safety of our citizens. The Chesapeake facility and the VDJJ facility will employ approximately 300 employees working 24 hours a day; seven days a week. Both juvenile detention centers and juvenile correctional centers are secure residential facilities that have construction fixtures designed to prevent escape and to restrict the movement and activities of juveniles held in lawful custody.
Virginia's Juvenile Correctional Centers (JCCs) Beaumont & Bon Air, located in the Richmond area, are functionally outdated and physically aging. These facilities are a mix of outdated dorm-style cottages, buildings dating back to the 1950s (some to the 1920s), and three self-contained residential facilities built during juvenile justice reform in the 1990s and modeled after adult correctional centers. Virginia's JCCs system has undergone a "transformation process to reduce costs and improve outcomes for its juveniles. Due to the condition of the City's current facility, initially built in 1961, Chesapeake staff began looking for a replacement option in recent years, as well. The City was approached by the VDJJ in the summer of 2015. The VDJJ had been looking for land in Hampton Roads to build a smaller facility, and Chesapeake happened to have both a need for a new juvenile detention center and the available property to build upon. The needs of the VDJJ and Chesapeake converged.
Up to 112 total. The State portion will house up to 64 juveniles and the City portion will house up to 48 juveniles.
This site is located adjacent to a major transportation corridor, near the geographic center of Hampton Roads, creating easy access for visiting families, local services, courts, etc. The site is meets the State's criteria for such facilities and is already owned by local government. Additionally, the site is adjacent to a minimal number of residential properties. Finally, the site provides an opportunity to create an "anchor" for utility service extension to the growing Dominion Boulevard Corridor, and the location is in keeping with both the Dominion Corridor Plan and the City's 2035 Comprehensive Plan with regards to land use.
The property was originally the site of operations and control facilities for a US Army Nike missile facility, constructed in 1955 and decommissioned around 1974. The property then served as the site of the Chesapeake Alternative School until about 2010, when it was transitioned into a storage location for School materials. Because the property is already municipally-owned, and with the potential for extension of utilities (water/sewer/etc.) as an "anchor" for further development southward in the Corridor, the site has been deemed highly appropriate for this use.
The City looked at several other sites but this site was among those that met the criteria outlined by the VDJJ. Prior to the city staff's first outreach meeting, the city investigated Chesapeake's current facility in the City Hall complex, a site in Steppingstone Square/Smith Avenue in Greenbrier, and a location in the Oakbrooke Business Park area of the city as well as our first recommended location at 3316 South Military Highway. After our series of public meetings where we discussed 3316 S. Military Highway as a primary location, we also investigated three other locations. Those locations were 3856 South Military Highway, the Ridgeway Farm property and the currently proposed 920 Minuteman Drive location. Of the 7 locations reviewed, only 3316 South Military Highway and 920 Minuteman Drive were deemed viable.
The parcel for the proposed Joint Juvenile Justice Center is approximately 14 acres, zoned A1.
The State portion of the facility will be operated by State officials and the Chesapeake side of the facility will be operated by Chesapeake officials. Both will share some core services and amenities such as gymnasium, cafeteria and laundry room.
The VDJJ portion was authorized in 2016 by the Virginia General Assembly, and VDJJ is proposing to use proceeds from a bond issue. Chesapeake's contribution would entail providing the site, site readiness, along with a portion of the construction cost and, once the facility is operational, lease payments to the VDJJ covering the operations on Chesapeake's portion of the facility. City Council must approve the Chesapeake contribution.
Both the State and City will benefit by gaining operating efficiencies, cost savings, and by providing enhanced services for local juveniles transitioning back to their families in the Hampton Roads communities. The State's closure of its large-scale juvenile correctional centers under its transformation project to a "Community Treatment Model" is designed to improve: educational/career readiness, therapeutic services, family engagement, and re-entry planning/parole services while reducing recidivism.
This facility is envisioned as a campus-like style similar to a community college. The exterior will be secure, attractive and landscaped. While the final design for this location has not yet been started, here are some graphics of what the facility could potentially look like:
- Possible configuration of the proposed Joint Juvenile Justice Center
- Possible elevation of the front of the proposed Joint Juvenile Justice Center
- Possible elevation of the rear of the proposed Joint Juvenile Justice Center
- Conceptual education and gymnasium, looking from the south to the north
- Conceptual housing, looking from the north to the south
- Overhead view of the proposed location
- Overhead view of properties within 1.5 mile radius of current Juvenile Facility
- Overhead view of properties within 1.5 mile radius of proposed facility location
Is the site appropriate for a major artery like Route 17 and will there be sufficient access to the site for staff and visitors?
A major artery like Route 17 is very appropriate for this kind of facility, considering the type of logistical support that the facility will require. Supplies will be delivered for standard operations. It makes sense to have the facility located on a major highway that is easily accessible for families, staff, and others needing to visit the site. The site design will allow for ample parking for staff and visitors.
How many hours per day will the juveniles be in the recreation yard and what type of activities will they be doing? Are they supervised?
Residents receive one hour of large muscle exercise daily. All activities are supervised by facility staff. Activities included are basketball, soccer, volleyball and other creative indoor and outdoor activities per VDJJ Standards.
What impact, if any, will the location of this facility have on the property values for properties in the immediate vicinity?
Chesapeake's Real Estate Assessor has reviewed the location, surrounding areas, and proposed design and construction features for the facility. Based on that review, the facility is not expected to negatively impact surrounding property values.
It is our goal to house only juveniles from Chesapeake; however, the courts may order a juvenile from another locality to be housed in Chesapeake for safety or security reasons, though this is rare. The VDJJ will house juveniles from not only Chesapeake, but also neighboring Hampton Roads localities.
In CJS, the juveniles are being held awaiting trial/disposition for some of the following offenses: probation violation, assault, larceny, malicious wounding, robbery, drug offenses, sex offenses and murder. A majority of juveniles in state custody are incarcerated for the same charges and convictions. CJS operates a Community Placement Program for services to assist youth transitioning back to their families from VDJJ correctional centers. CJS also operates a Post-Dispositional Program for sentenced juveniles who may serve locally for 90-180 days prior to state commitment and juveniles can, in some cases, remain in Chesapeake. Therefore, juveniles in state custody have in essence, committed the same offenses as those currently in the care of Chesapeake Juvenile Services. This is the same as the current CJS facility on Albemarle Drive.
Juveniles from the localities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth, Southampton, and Suffolk, are held in CJS. The VDJJ juveniles are incarcerated at two juvenile correctional centers in the Richmond area---Beaumont and Bon Air.
No, due to different mandated requirements per the VDJJ, they must be separated at all times due to their incarceration status.
The new Joint Juvenile Justice Center will have dedicated areas such as library, medical, classrooms, visiting areas and private counseling areas. The facility will have smaller housing units, state of the art technology and improved medical facilities.
Part of the current CJS facility is 55 years old with a later addition added in 1995. The aging building is in a constant state of repair and is costly to maintain. The plumbing, electrical, heating and air conditioning systems are obsolete and in need of replacement. It has become difficult to repair these antiquated systems. The kitchen refrigerator/freezer units to include the chiller units and closed circuit television system are also in constant need of repair, and must be replaced.
Typically visitation is limited to two days per week for parents, siblings and legal guardians. Lawyers, probation officers, social workers, and clergy may visit at any time.
The secure facility will be staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year, and will employ approximately 300 staff members. The facility will have closed circuit security cameras monitored by staff, perimeter fencing or walls, and have a state-mandated ratio of juveniles to staff.
No, juveniles will be constantly supervised.
Juveniles will attend school, participate in recreational activities, attend individual and/or group counseling, have meals and participate in religious activities.
Juveniles who are detained in the CJS portion of the center could occasionally leave for work release purposes, but only under the constant supervision of facility staff.
The center will be designed to minimize impact to the surrounding community.
The inside and outside areas of the facility will be monitored 24 hours a day by closed circuit cameras monitored by staff. The outside cameras will only cover up to the perimeter fencing.
While the Police department will be aware of the operation of the facility and will respond to calls for service to the facility if needed, the proposed facility will be fully staffed with its own certified correctional officers and detention specialists. An increase in police presence should not be required.
City staff are prepared to bring the 920 Minuteman Drive site for the JJJC for approval to the August 8, 2017, City Council Meeting. By that time, representatives from the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice and City staff will have negotiated and agreed on the final terms of agreement, and will have a plan in place for the transfer of the property. Upon approval by City Council, the standard design and construction process will begin. The lead agency for the construction and completion of the project will be the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice.
Earlier this year, City staff held 4 community outreach meetings related to the site at 3316 S. Military Highway. Those meetings provided valuable input related to that site.
Now that the site at 920 Minuteman Drive is the primary site under consideration, a public meeting has been scheduled to receive similar input. This meeting will be held:
Thursday, July 20
5:00 until 7:00 p.m.
Grassfield High School
This will be an open house style meeting, with representatives from various City and state agencies on-hand to provide information, answer questions, and gather citizen input. Residents may visit the meeting at any convenient time during the 2 hours to learn more and provide input.
Construction for this facility should be complete by February 2020.
Comments can be submitted at the citizen information meeting or by email to:
Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice
Policy & Planning Director
Chesapeake Juvenile Services
You can send your input using an online form as well.
You can find out more about this project at any of the scheduled information meetings or online at www.DJJ.Virginia.Gov.
Additional information can be found at the following links: