Work Re-Entry Program
The Work Re-Entry Program is designed to provide qualifying offenders the opportunity to serve part of his/her active jail sentence at home, while working approximately full time, in order to become self-sufficient, provide for his/her family, pay restitution and/or court fines and costs, and to reduce the chances of re-offending.
This program was formally created in July 2018 as a direct response to overcrowding at the Bristol, VA Jail, as well as to address the needs of low level offenders who may not qualify for Drug Court. Development of the program began in May 2018, and the first offender was released to the program in September 2018.
Participation in this program is 3 to 12 months in length and begins after the offender has served a portion of his/her active sentence in jail. The length of both participation and active jail sentence is imposed by the Circuit Court Judge at the time of sentencing or sentence modification.
Eligible offenders must reside in the immediate Bristol, VA or Washington County, VA area. Some exceptions may exist and are made on a case by case basis. Residency in Bristol, TN will not disqualify an offender from participation, but may significantly delay entry into the program. Establishing Virginia residency is recommended.
Eligible offenders must have a felony charge or violation of probation either currently pending or recently concluded. The total active sentence imposed cannot exceed two (2) years and the maximum length of participation in the program is twelve (12) months. A portion of the total active sentence will include incarceration prior to entry into the program.
The offender's criminal history cannot include convictions for violent or sex-based offenses, assault of a law enforcement officer, or an offense involving a weapon. Any offender that has been determined disabled by the Social Security Administration will be ineligible for the program, regardless of whether or not he/she is currently receiving SSI payments.
Like drug court, participation in Work Re-Entry is a privilege and takes commitment on the part of the participant. Participants are required to:
- Pay a program fee of $300 per month, some of which is due prior to release;
- Submit to multiple random drug screens monthly, including weekends and holidays;
- Work in an IRS-reported payroll position at least 35 hours per week;
- Wear a GPS monitor 24/7 and remain home all hours not working;
- Abide by all requirements of Probation & Parole and maintain contact with assigned officer.
(This list is not all-inclusive and other program obligations may apply. See "Program Materials" for additional information.)
An application is required to begin the referral process. If the case is pending, the attorney of record should complete the application with the offender and forward to the Commonwealth’s Attorney's office. If the case is concluded, the offender may write the program director directly and request evaluation.