Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 53.1. Prisons and Other Methods of Correction
Chapter 2. State Correctional Facilities
12/3/2022

Article 3. Employment and Training of Prisoners.

§ 53.1-41. Opportunities for work and career and technical education.

A. To the extent feasible, it shall be the duty of the Director to provide persons sentenced to the Department with opportunities to work and to participate in career and technical education programs. Such work opportunities may include business, industrial, agricultural, highway maintenance and construction, and work release programs as hereafter specified in this article. In addition, prisoners may be employed to improve, repair, work on or cultivate public property or buildings.

In addition to meeting the qualifications for work performance and security compatibility, preference for placement in work programs shall be given to any prisoner who requests a work assignment and assigns a minimum of 50 percent of his earnings to his child support obligation.

B. When a person committed to the Department owes any court imposed fines, costs, forfeitures, restitution or penalties, he shall be required as a condition of participating in any work program to either make full payment or make payments in accordance with an agreed upon installment or deferred payment plan while participating in such work program. If, after the person enters into an installment or deferred payment agreement, the person fails to pay as agreed, his participation in the work program may be terminated until all fines, costs, forfeitures, restitution and penalties are satisfied. The Director shall withhold such payments from any amounts due to such person.

Code 1950, §§ 53-33, 53-57, 53-224; 1970, c. 648; 1982, c. 636; 2001, c. 483; 2006, c. 98; 2010, c. 616; 2012, cc. 803, 835.

§ 53.1-42. Allowance for work and disposition thereof.

Every prisoner committed and transferred to the Department and thereafter confined for the sentence for which he was committed in a state or local correctional facility shall be allowed an amount to be established by the Director for each day of labor satisfactory to the superintendent or sheriff in whose charge he is. The allowance so made shall accumulate and be paid over to the prisoner upon discharge, except that an amount thereof to be determined by the Director may be drawn upon by the prisoner for such purposes as may be authorized by the regulations of the Director.

For the purposes of this section only, the phrase "transferred to the Department" means (i) the actual physical receipt by the Department of a prisoner in a state correctional facility or (ii) the complete processing by the Department of a prisoner for the purposes of classifying the person as a state prisoner whether or not the person is physically received into a state correctional facility.

Code 1950, § 53-220.1; 1970, c. 339; 1982, c. 636; 2020, c. 759.

§ 53.1-43. Pay incentives for prisoners.

The Director may establish a system of pay incentives for prisoners confined in any state correctional facility. Such system may provide for the payment of a bonus to any prisoner who is assigned to employment in any position of responsibility or who performs his job in an exemplary manner.

Code 1950, § 53-222; 1968, c. 590; 1982, c. 636; 2020, c. 759.

§ 53.1-43.1. Inmate trust accounts.

In addition to any other account established to hold funds for inmates, the Department shall establish for each inmate a personal trust account. Unless an inmate has been sentenced to be executed, is serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole, or is sentenced to a term that makes him ineligible for release, excluding the conditional release of geriatric prisoners pursuant to § 53.1-40.01, prior to 75 years of age, 10 percent of any funds received by an inmate from any source shall be deposited by the Department in the inmate's personal trust account until the account has a balance of $1,000. When the inmate's personal trust account reaches $1,000, any funds received by the inmate shall be deposited in the inmate's other account.

An inmate may direct the Department at any time to deposit a portion or all of any funds received by him in the inmate's personal trust account. After the balance of a personal trust account has exceeded $1,000, an inmate may direct the Department to transfer funds from his personal trust account to any other account maintained for him; provided, however, that the balance of the personal trust account shall not fall below $1,000.

Funds in an inmate's personal trust account shall be paid to the inmate upon parole or final discharge.

2011, cc. 260, 284; 2017, c. 205.

§ 53.1-44. Investment of funds belonging to prisoners; use of income.

Portions of the funds held by the Director or by any state correctional facility, which belong to prisoners may, in the discretion of the Director, be invested in bonds of the Commonwealth of Virginia or of the United States or in federally-insured investments. In determining how to invest the funds, the Director shall balance any long-term investments with those which permit ready accessibility to the funds. Any income or increment of increase received from the bonds or investments may be used by the Director for the benefit of the prisoners under his care.

Code 1950, § 53-223; 1970, c. 648; 1982, c. 636.

§ 53.1-45. Sale of prison goods and services; print shop.

A. Articles produced or manufactured and services provided by prisoners sentenced to state correctional facilities may be disposed of by the Director by sale only to municipal and county agencies in Virginia and to federal, state and local public agencies within or without the Commonwealth or as the Director, with the approval of the Governor, may deem to be in the best interests of the Commonwealth. Except as otherwise provided, no articles produced or manufactured nor services provided by prisoners may be bought, sold or acquired by exchange on the open market.

B. The products of any printing shop in any state correctional facility shall be sold only to the departments, institutions and agencies of the Commonwealth which are supported in whole or in part with funds from the state treasury and to offices or agencies of the counties, cities and towns of the Commonwealth. Such products shall not be sold on the open market except as provided in § 53.1-45.1.

C. The Department shall not offer manufactured goods for resale to any department, agency or institution of the state unless those goods (i) have been incorporated into a finished product produced or manufactured by prisoners, (ii) are necessary for use with a product produced or manufactured by prisoners, or (iii) are a component part of a product system, a portion of which comprises goods produced or manufactured by prisoners.

Code 1950, §§ 53-63, 53-64; 1970, c. 648; 1977, c. 540; 1982, c. 636; 1983, c. 186; 1993, cc. 464, 488; 1998, c. 240.

§ 53.1-45.1. Work programs; agreements with other entities.

A. The Director, with the prior approval of the Governor, may enter into an agreement with a public or private entity to operate a work program in a state correctional facility for prisoners confined therein.

B. Articles produced or manufactured and services provided by prisoners participating in such a program may be purchased as provided in § 53.1-47 and may be bought, sold or acquired by exchange on the open market through the participating public or private entity.

C. The Director shall arrange for compensation for such employment. Wages earned by prisoners shall be paid to the Director who shall deduct from such wages, in the following order of priority, an amount to:

1. Meet the obligation of any judicial or administrative order to provide support and such funds shall be disbursed according to the terms of such order;

2. Pay any fines, restitution or costs as ordered by the court; and

3. Defray a portion of the prisoner's keep.

The balance shall be credited to the prisoner's account in accordance with § 53.1-42.

1993, cc. 464, 488; 1996, cc. 284, 368; 2003, cc. 94, 854.

§ 53.1-45.2. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2003, cc. 94 and 854, cl. 2.

§ 53.1-46. Sale of artistic products.

Subject to such rules as he may prescribe, the Director may permit prisoners confined in state correctional facilities to sell to the public artistic products personally crafted by the prisoners. Such artistic products shall include, but are not limited to, paintings, pottery and leatherwork.

1982, c. 636.

§ 53.1-47. Purchases by agencies, localities, and certain nonprofit organizations.

Articles and services produced or manufactured by persons confined in state correctional facilities:

1. Shall be purchased by all departments, institutions, and agencies of the Commonwealth that are supported in whole or in part with funds from the state treasury for their use or the use of persons whom they assist financially. Except as provided in § 53.1-48, no such articles or services shall be purchased by any department, institution, or agency of the Commonwealth from any other source; and

2. May be purchased by any county, district of any county, city, or town and by any nonprofit organization, including volunteer emergency medical services agencies, fire departments, sheltered workshops, and community service organizations.

Code 1950, § 53-67; 1970, c. 648; 1972, c. 54; 1975, c. 647; 1980, c. 240; 1982, cc. 499, 636, 647; 1993, cc. 464, 488; 2015, cc. 502, 503.

§ 53.1-48. Exceptions as to purchases.

A department, institution, or agency of the Commonwealth may be granted an exemption from the provisions of § 53.1-47 with the written consent of the Chief Executive Officer of the Virginia Correctional Enterprises Program in any case where (i) the article so produced or manufactured does not meet the reasonable requirements of the department, institution, or agency, (ii) an identical article can be obtained at a verified lesser cost from the private sector, which is evidenced by a verified request for pricing, or (iii) the requisition made cannot be complied with on account of an insufficient supply of the articles or supplies required, or otherwise. In any case where an exemption from the provisions of § 53.1-47 is not granted as provided in this section, the Chief Executive Officer of the Virginia Correctional Enterprises Program shall provide a written justification for the denial to the department, institution, or agency that requested the exemption.

Code 1950, § 53-69; 1958, c. 124; 1982, cc. 499, 636; 1984, c. 720; 2012, c. 360; 2019, c. 167.

§ 53.1-49. Evasion by variance from specifications of Director.

No department, institution or agency of the Commonwealth shall be allowed to evade the intent and meaning of §§ 53.1-47 and 53.1-48 by slight variations from specifications adopted by the Division of Purchases and Supply of the Department of General Services pursuant to § 2.2-1112, when the articles produced or manufactured in accordance with specifications of the Department are reasonably adapted to the actual needs of the department, institution or agency.

Code 1950, § 53-70; 1982, cc. 636, 647.

§ 53.1-50. Vouchers, certificates and warrants not to be questioned.

No voucher, certificate or warrant issued on the Comptroller by any such department, institution or agency shall be questioned by him or by the State Treasurer on the ground that §§ 53.1-47 through 53.1-49 and § 53.1-52 have not been complied with by such department, institution or agency.

Code 1950, § 53-71; 1982, c. 636.

§ 53.1-51. Intentional violations constitute malfeasance.

Intentional violations of §§ 53.1-47 through 53.1-49 and § 53.1-52 by any such department, institution or agency, continued after notice from the Governor to desist, shall constitute malfeasance in office, and shall subject the officer or officers responsible for such violations to suspension or removal from office, as may be provided by law in other cases of malfeasance.

Code 1950, § 53-72; 1982, c. 636.

§ 53.1-52. Procedure for purchases.

All purchases, except for those of information technology and telecommunications goods and services as provided in § 2.2-2012, made by departments, institutions and agencies of the Commonwealth shall be made as provided by the Division of Purchases and Supply of the Department of General Services. All purchases of information technology and telecommunications made by departments, institutions, and agencies of the Commonwealth shall be made as provided by the Virginia Information Technologies Agency. All other purchases shall be upon requisition by the proper authority of the county, district, city or town requiring such articles.

Code 1950, § 53-68; 1958, c. 124; 1982, cc. 636, 647; 2003, cc. 895, 981, 1021.

§ 53.1-53. Transfer or sale of by-products of manufacturing processes.

In those industries operated by the Department in which saleable by-products are generated while producing primary products, such by-products shall not be classified as surplus supplies or equipment. Such by-products shall be disposed of as provided in § 2.2-1124. Proceeds from the sale of such by-products shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the special funds account of the generating industry.

1982, c. 636.

§ 53.1-54. Charges and catalogue; annual estimates of requirements by departments, etc.

A. The Director shall establish charges for articles produced or manufactured and services provided by prison labor that will, in his judgment, defray the administration, operation and maintenance costs and make allowances for depreciation, return on capital and contingencies.

B. A catalogue shall be prepared by the Department on a periodic basis which describes all articles and supplies manufactured and produced by persons confined in state correctional facilities. Copies of the catalogue shall be sent to all departments, institutions and agencies of the Commonwealth mandated to purchase such articles and supplies. At least thirty days before the commencement of each fiscal year, the proper official of each department, institution and agency of the Commonwealth shall report to the Division of Purchases and Supply estimates of the kinds and amounts of articles and supplies required by it for the ensuing year. Such estimates shall refer to the catalogue issued by the Director insofar as the articles and supplies indicated are included within the catalogue.

Code 1950, §§ 53-62, 53-73; 1958, c. 124; 1970, c. 648; 1982, c. 636.

§ 53.1-55. Sale or exchange of goods manufactured by prisoners of other states.

It shall be unlawful for any person within this Commonwealth to buy or acquire by exchange on the open market, either for his own use or for the purpose of resale, or for any person to sell or exchange on the open market within this Commonwealth, any goods, wares or merchandise prepared in whole or in part, or manufactured by prisoners of any other state, other than prisoners on parole or probation.

Any person or any agent or manager for any person who shall violate any provision of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine of not more than $500 or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both in the discretion of the court or jury trying the case.

Code 1950, § 53-74; 1982, c. 636.

§ 53.1-56. Construction and maintenance of highways; grass cutting; acquisition of quarries, etc.; use of materials for county roads.

Persons sentenced to the Department shall, so far as practicable, be employed in the construction and maintenance of the primary state highway system and secondary system of state highways, and to this end may be used in rock quarries, gravel pits and other plants in the preparation of materials for construction and maintenance of roads and in the maintenance of any or all medians and other nontraveled portions of such highways. Persons sentenced to the Department may also be employed in the maintenance of the rest areas along the Interstate Highway System, providing that such maintenance activities are jointly approved by the Department and the Virginia Department of Transportation based on the safety of the traveling public.

The Commonwealth Transportation Board may acquire out of the proceeds of the money, now or hereafter available for construction and maintenance of the primary state highway system and secondary system, such quarries, gravel pits or plants as may in its opinion be necessary for such work. The Board shall on the request of any county road authorities allow such county road authorities to take from such quarries or gravel pits or shall sell to such county road authorities at cost of production such materials as may be required to be used for the construction and maintenance of county roads. This arrangement shall in no way interfere with the furnishing of materials by the Board for the maintenance or construction of the primary state highway system and secondary system.

The Department of Transportation shall make requisition from time to time upon the Director for the number of prisoners it deems necessary for the work on the primary state highway system or secondary system or for the preparation of road material for road construction and maintenance, in the maintenance of any or all medians and other nontraveled portions of such highways, and in the maintenance of the rest areas along the Interstate Highway System. The number of prisoners so requisitioned shall be furnished subject to availability as determined by the Director of the Department of Corrections.

Fifteen days prior to a prisoner's participation in the program, the Director shall give the chief of police, sheriff or local chief law-enforcement official of the locality in which the prisoner will work, notice of the prisoner's participation. Such notice shall include the name, address and criminal history of the prisoner, in addition to other information the chief of police or such officer may request. The transmission of information shall be confidential and not subject to the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.).

Code 1950, § 53-109; 1970, c. 648; 1974, c. 128; 1982, c. 636; 1989, c. 652; 2010, c. 128; 2011, cc. 40, 48; 2013, cc. 585, 646.

§ 53.1-57. Payments by Department of Transportation to Director for labor.

The Department of Transportation shall pay to the Director monthly for the hours prisoners are employed on the state highway primary system and secondary system and work incidental thereto, an amount agreed upon by the Department of Corrections and the Department of Transportation. Monthly payments by the Department to the Director shall be made not later than the fifteenth day of the succeeding month after the work or labor has been performed for the Department.

Code 1950, § 53-71; 1958, c. 324; 1960, c. 450; 1970, c. 648; 1982, c. 636; 2013, cc. 585, 646.

§ 53.1-58. Highway employees as guards.

The Director, with the consent of the Commissioner of Highways, may appoint and authorize employees of the Department of Transportation to act as guards of prisoners when such prisoners are at work on the roads under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth Transportation Board. Such employees shall be deemed to be acting within the scope of their official duties for the Board when acting as guards pursuant to this section. The Director may authorize such employees to carry firearms in accordance with § 53.1-29.

Code 1950, § 53-122; 1958, c. 572; 1970, c. 648; 1982, c. 636.

§ 53.1-59. Prisoners performing work for localities, state agencies or nonprofit civic organizations; payment of costs; foremen as guards.

The Director is authorized to enter into agreements with the proper authorities of any state agency, county, city, town, local commission or nonprofit civic organization in the Commonwealth to build and maintain roads and streets and to perform such other public works as he may approve. The state agency, county, town, city, local commission or nonprofit civic organization for which such work is performed may be required to pay to the Department in monthly installments such sum as is necessary to cover the costs of work done by such prisoners at the rate specified in the agreement authorized by § 53.1-57.

The state agency, county, town, city, local commission or nonprofit civic organization that has the use of prison labor authorized by this section shall designate the projects to be worked. It may be required to furnish all engineering service, tools, implements, machinery and equipment used in such projects; shall secure rights-of-way; and shall furnish such foremen as the Director deems necessary and acceptable to direct the work. The Director may authorize such persons employed as foremen to carry firearms in accordance with § 53.1-29.

Fifteen days prior to a prisoner's participation in the program, the Director shall give the chief of police, sheriff or local chief law-enforcement official of the locality in which the prisoner will work, written notice of the prisoner's participation. Such notice shall include the name, address and criminal history of the prisoner in addition to other information the chief of police or such officer may request. A copy of such notice shall be provided to the attorney for the Commonwealth and the governing body where the work is to be performed. The transmission of information shall be confidential and not subject to the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.). When notice has been requested in accordance with § 53.1-133.02, the Director shall provide notice to the victim that the prisoner has been assigned to a facility where the prisoner may participate in supervised work programs established pursuant to this section.

Code 1950, § 53-122.1; 1962, c. 370; 1970, c. 648; 1982, c. 636; 1989, c. 652; 1991, c. 412; 1996, cc. 703, 726.

§ 53.1-60. Extending limits of confinement of state prisoners for work and educational programs; disposition of wages; support of certain dependents; penalties for violations.

A. The Director is authorized to establish work release programs whereby (i) a prisoner who is proficient in any trade or occupation and whom the Director is satisfied is trustworthy, may be approved for employment by private individuals, corporations or state agencies at places of business, or (ii) a prisoner whom the Director is satisfied is trustworthy and capable of receiving substantial benefit from educational and other related community activity programs that are not available within a state correctional facility may attend such programs outside of the correctional facility, without a correctional officer during any hour of the day or night. Such prisoner shall travel directly to, from or be in authorized attendance or employment at such place of business, educational or related community activity program.

B. The Director is authorized to arrange for the temporary care of prisoners who are deemed capable of participation in the programs established herein in approved local or community correctional facilities. The hours of employment or attendance shall be arranged by the Director. In the event of a legally sanctioned strike at the prisoner's place of employment, the prisoner in the work release program shall be withdrawn from the employment for the duration of the strike.

C. The compensation for such employment shall be arranged by the Director and shall be the same as that of regular employees in similar occupations. Any wages earned shall be paid to the Director. The Director shall, in accordance with regulations promulgated by the Director, deduct from such wages, in the following order of priority, an amount to:

1. Meet the obligation of any judicial or administrative order to provide support and such funds shall be disbursed according to the terms of such order;

2. Pay any fines, restitution or costs as ordered by the court;

3. Pay travel and other such expenses made necessary by his work release employment or participation in an educational or rehabilitative program, including the sums specified in § 53.1-150; and

4. Defray the prisoner's keep.

The balance shall be credited to the prisoner's account or sent to his family in an amount the prisoner so chooses.

D. Any prisoner who has been placed in any of the programs authorized herein shall, while outside the state correctional facility or approved local or community correctional facility to which he is assigned, be deemed to be in custody whether or not he is under the supervision of a correctional officer. If the prisoner, without proper authority or without just cause, leaves the area in which he has been directed to work or to attend educational or community activity programs, or the vehicle or route involved in his traveling to or from such place or program, he may be found guilty of escape as provided for in § 18.2-477 as though he had left the state, local or community correctional facility itself, or, if there are mitigating circumstances or the culpability of the prisoner is minimal, he may be found guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

E. The Director and any sheriff or other administrative head of any local correctional facility are authorized to enter into agreements whereby persons committed to the Department, whether such persons are housed in a state or local correctional facility, and who meet the Department's standards for such release may participate in local work release programs or in educational or other rehabilitative programs operating pursuant to § 53.1-131. Any person so placed shall be governed by the rules and regulations applicable to local work release programs.

F. The provisions of § 53.1-131 shall apply to any person convicted of a felony but confined in jail pursuant to § 53.1-20 and participating in work, rehabilitation, or education programs.

Code 1950, § 53-38; 1968, c. 152; 1970, c. 114; 1972, c. 55; 1973, c. 114; 1975, c. 322; 1976, cc. 295, 475; 1978, c. 660; 1979, cc. 127, 706; 1981, c. 634; 1982, c. 636; 1984, c. 516; 1985, c. 488; 1988, c. 397; 1990, cc. 107, 676, 768; 1994, c. 487; 2020, c. 759.

§ 53.1-60.1. Duties of Director in collecting court-imposed debt.

Upon receipt of a valid court order or judgment against a person confined in a state correctional facility, the Director or his designee shall satisfy, to the extent possible, the amount required to be paid by the order or judgment from the inmate's trust account. The Director shall promulgate regulations governing the process of collecting funds from inmates to be used for (i) the satisfaction of judgments or orders granting monetary relief or imposing fines or other monetary sanctions or (ii) payment of court costs and fees.

1998, c. 596.

§ 53.1-61. Determination whether prisoner has dependents receiving public assistance; payment of portion of earnings; remedies for enforcement of support obligation.

A. In order to determine whether a prisoner to be released for employment as provided in § 53.1-60 has dependents receiving public assistance benefits, the Director may require such person to reveal the identity and residence of any dependents as a condition to release. The Director shall notify any such dependents, the local department of social services where such dependents reside and the Commissioner of Social Services of the release of such person for employment. Upon request of the local department of social services or the Commissioner of Social Services, the Director shall withhold and pay over a portion of the person's earnings as provided in § 53.1-60.

B. If the local department of social services or the Commissioner of Social Services objects to the amount withheld by the Director, the balance credited to the person's account shall be subject to all civil remedies provided by law to the local department of social services or the Commissioner of Social Services for the enforcement of support of dependents receiving public assistance benefits.

C. The director of the local department of social services and the Commissioner of Social Services or their designees shall be permitted access to the records of the Director concerning the earnings of the prisoner.

Code 1950, § 53-38.01; 1978, c. 660; 1982, c. 636; 2002, c. 747.

§ 53.1-62. When ineligible for work release.

Any person who is released from confinement for work release employment pursuant to the provisions of § 53.1-60, who is convicted of a felony included within Chapter 4 (§ 18.2-30 et seq.) of Title 18.2, or arson, burglary or robbery committed while so released, shall, after such conviction, be ineligible for work release employment during the remainder of the sentence or sentences imposed upon him prior to his release for work release employment.

Code 1950, § 53-38.1; 1976, c. 210; 1982, c. 636.