Two sites in Chesapeake eyed for new juvenile detention center

CHESAPEAKE, Va. – A center for incarcerated youth could be coming to Hampton Roads, meaning convicted juveniles could be living in the backyards of Chesapeake residents.

Two areas in Chesapeake have been proposed for the new facility.

A view of the property off S. Military Highway the City of Chesapeake wants to turn into a juvenile jail.

One is an 11-acre space on South Military Highway in Deep Creek that would be home to both Chesapeake Juvenile Services and the state-run Joint Juvenile Justice Center.

The other site is a 14-acre space at 920 Minuteman Drive, which is the former site of the Chesapeake Alternative School. Like the Military Highway location, this would be home to both Chesapeake Juvenile Services and the Joint Juvenile Justice Center.

Once approved, either will be built to hold 112 inmates. Most will be from Chesapeake but city officials said other Hampton Roads residents could be sent to this center.

Right now, a juvenile sent to a detention center is most likely shipped off to Chesterfield County, outside Richmond. The Department of Juvenile Justice had stated this poses an issue for the families who cannot get out to see their son or daughter for years at a time due to transportation issues.

Most of the residents News 3 has talked to have said they do not want the center in their backyard. Many say they are concerned the inmates could escape into the community where their children live and play.

The Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice (VDJJ) plans to have substantial security in place but do recognize the center will hold juveniles charged with crimes as small as misdemeanor drug offenses all the way up to murder.

The VDJJ said the new center will have programs for the youth like drug recovery assistance, mental health assistance and educational programs.

The Chesapeake City Council says they will discuss the project again at their meeting on November 21.

To see the City’s proposed plan for the facility visit their website.