The Sheriff’s Office Community Labor Force (CLF) provides an innovative approach to incarceration and work release. Labor crews, consisting of well-screened offenders, provide necessary services to the county that otherwise would have been done by county staff or contractors. In a year's time, the CLF provides more than 50,000 hours of labor and saves county taxpayers nearly $1.5 million.
The CLF services over 300 county bus stops, shelters and park-and-rides by collecting the trash, doing light landscaping, removing graffiti and performing general maintenance when needed. The crews service many of the county’s stormwater management facilities, including over 1,300 dry ponds that temporarily hold and filter water in neighborhoods and at businesses. They also do landscaping, litter pick-up and emergency snow removal on public lands.
Since July 1, 2013, the Sheriff's Office has partnered with VDOT, the Board of Supervisors and the Department of Code Compliance to remove illegal signs from selected county roadways. In 2016 they collected 23,264 signs. The Department of Code Compliance has the discretion to issue fines to businesses who illegally post the signs.
The CLF operates with work crews of no more than five inmates each, with one deputy per crew. Inmates volunteer for this assignment, and the Sheriff ’s Office always has a waiting list. CLF inmates use the skills they already have, but they also acquire many more skills to increase their employability. They may do painting, construction and light carpentry. They learn to use snow removal and lawn and garden equipment. They learn about bio-retention and how to keep drainage areas free from obstructions. Most importantly, they learn to start and finish a project, grow their self-esteem, and appreciate a hard day’s work and a job well done.
Program participants may earn Exemplary Good Time for their efforts, thereby reducing the incarceration period and the county’s cost for incarceration.
In addition to its work with county agencies, the CLF partners with the City of Fairfax and the Towns of Herndon and Vienna, which fall under the jurisdiction of the Sheriff's Office.
For more information about the Sheriff's Office Community Labor Force, call 703-246-4509, TTY 711, or send an email.