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Release Process


Virginia Correctional Enterprises is implementing some system wide changes to streamline and improve our business operations. Many of these changes are designed to better serve our customers through process improvements increasing our responsiveness to customer needs. One of these changes focuses on the “Release Process” which is often misunderstood or misapplied. To better understand the “Release Process” it is important to first understand why the General Assembly enacted the law, the requirements of the law, and VCE’s responsibilities under the law.

In 1933 the General Assembly enacted legislation establishing the Industrial Department of Welfare and Institutions for the specific purpose of providing incarcerated individuals with meaningful work programs. In 1934 it began operating from the Virginia State Penitentiary as an organizational unit of the Virginia Department of Corrections and continues its original mission after several name changes and physical location moves. Today, the Virginia Correctional Enterprises Headquarters is located at 8030 White Bark Terrace in North Chesterfield, Virginia. VCE provides more than 1300 offenders, working in different plants throughout the Commonwealth, jobs and work skills to help them successfully re-enter society.

Virginia Correctional Enterprises (VCE) is a self-supporting agency entirely funded with the revenue derived from the sale of goods and services to state agencies and other entities within government that are supported in part or whole by funds appropriated by the State Legislature. We are a business within government that is not profit driven. There are no tax dollars supporting the program.

The primary objective of the Offender Job Program is to provide meaningful jobs that prepare an offender to secure successful employment upon release. The employment, skills training and experience offenders receive are paid for entirely with the revenue VCE receives from its sales.

VCE provides the following direct benefits through our “Offender Job Program”

  • Virginia’s tax dollars are used to dual advantage in the purchase of quality products and services that fund a Job Program.
  • A Job Program that provides offenders marketable job skills.
  • A manufacturing and production operation that is self-funded.
  • Wages earned by offenders help pay for court imposed fines, costs, forfeitures, restitution or penalties, court costs, and child support.
  • A work environment emphasizing challenge, opportunity, quality, and dedication to this mission.

The Goal

Successful re-entry into society by an offender after completing his/her obligation to the courts and community is everyone’s goal. All research validates the successful participation in the VCE jobs program with the reduction of recidivism. By partnering and participating in our program with the purchase of products and services you are helping to reduce recidivism in Virginia. You are literally changing offenders from tax burdens to tax payers.

Code of Virginia

The following from the Code of Virginia provides the legal basis, justification, requirements, and responsibilities for the issuance of a “Release”:

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

This section describes who should purchase from Virginia Correctional Enterprises: …

..by all departments, institutions and agencies of the Commonwealth which 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.

§ 53.1-48. Exceptions as to purchases.

Exceptions as to purchases outlines three (3) reasons that are appropriate for VCE to grant a release:

  1. the article so produced or manufactured does not meet the reasonable requirements of the department, institution or agency,
  2. 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
  3. the requisition made cannot be complied with on account of an insufficient supply of the articles or supplies required, or otherwise.

How the “Release Process” Works

  1. As a project develops for a Customer they should contact VCE Sales Department/Representative to seek our help with an item(s) for which they are interested. If we can help we will, if not we will advise them to seek the item from another source.
  2. The “single entry” for all Releases is the office of VCE CEO.
  3. The assigned “Release Form” should be used. It is available on the VCE Web-site or by contacting the VCE Sales Department. No other form or any modification to this form is valid. All invalid forms will be returned to the initiator.
  4. Once the “Release Form” has been completed it should be sent electronically to VCEReleaseRequest@vadoc.virginia.gov
  5. Supporting documentation must be included with every "Release". The required documentation is enumerated in "§ 53.1-48. Exceptions as to purchases".
  6. Incomplete "Release Forms" will be returned to the initiator.
  7. When a Release Form is received it will be date stamped and a hard copy printed. It will then be assigned a unique tracking number and entered into the “Release Log”.
  8. Based on the item(s) described in the release it will be assigned to an entity in VCE to make the appropriate review.
  9. Generally, the review will be completed within 72 hours (3 working days) of the initial receipt of the release.
  10. Senior management (CSO-Chief Services Officer) will review every release for ratification and sign-off before it is submitted to the VCE CEO.
  11. The "Release" decision is then logged in the "Release Log".
  12. The "Release" is then returned to the “Release” initiator via email.


Address any questions to VCEReleaseRequest@vadoc.virginia.gov or to the CEO’s office at (804) 743-4100.