The Gloucester County Jail houses an average of 38 inmates daily: these individuals are either held awaiting bond, for pretrial purposes, or are serving an active sentence. Corrections deputies are responsible for the safety and security of the jail, as well as for all inmates and individuals visiting the facility. The staff are also responsible for the transporting of inmates to court, other detention facilities, and to doctors and hospitals for medical care and treatment. They also handle the intake procedures for admittance into the jail, and deputies processed over 1,500 people for that purpose last year.
Our Jail is in full compliance with the Virginia Department of Corrections Standards for Jails and Lockups. Our last complete audit was in November of 2015, and we were found to be in excellent standing, with a one hundred percent compliance rating within the 148 standards the Commonwealth has set forth for jail operations. We also meet the requirements to operate through the State Fire Marshal's Office and the Virginia Department of Health.
The residents of the Gloucester Jail take an active role in daily operations: although supervised by staff, they are responsible for their laundry services, food preparation, and the painting and cleaning of the facility.
County has had a detention facility of one design or another dating
back to at least the mid-16th century. A 1754 plat shows the
existence of both an "old" and "new" prison on the lands adjacent to what we now consider the Courthouse Circle, and documents from the House of Burgesses comment on various
gaol activities during
the 1760's. Several years later, the County built jail facilities closer to the newer 1766 Courthouse, located within the present-day Courthouse Circle. In the September 28, 1769, edition of the
Virginia Gazette, Gloucester County justices advertised for the building of two brick prisons, with construction of at least one within the Courthouse Circle. Over fifty years later in
1823, consideration was made for the addition of a second jail, and the
Debtor's jail was built around 1824.
According to William Lawrence in his 2009 book A History of Gloucester Courthouse Village, our most previous jail (located in the Courthouse Circle) was constructed on the same location of our earlier mentioned prison: this building had been burned down by the Union Army during the Civil War. An ad was placed in the October 26, 1872 edition of The Gloucester Herald in which sealed bids were being accepted for the building of a "thirty two foot by sixteen foot building...with two brick thick walls...doubly iron grated windows...all the doors to be double...with a slate and fire-proof roof".
The jail was completed in 1873, was painted white, and had a small front portico (which has long since been removed). Two additional rooms were added on either side of the jail in the early 1900's. Although damaged by fire in November of 1974, the building continued to be in use by the Sheriff's Office into the 1980's, where it was last used by the Investigations Division. The building still stands, and can be identified by the large star that hangs over the entryway.
The jail, at its current location on Justice Drive, was constructed in 1984 and has been in continuous use ever since.