Chapter 2: Charlottesville/Albemarle County, Virginia


Charlottesville and Albemarle County are located at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Charlottesville is an independent city adjacent to, but separate from, Albemarle County. As of 2015, the city proper had a population of 46,597 (2016 U.S. Census Bureau) and the county’s population was 105,703 (2016 U.S. Census Bureau). The area is home to approximately 20,000 students attending the University of Virginia. The county’s population is 82.2% white, 9.2% black or African American, 4.9% Asian, and 5.8% Hispanic or Latino (2016 U.S. Census Bureau); the city’s population is 70.2% white, 19.2% black or African American, 7.1% Asian, and 5.0% Hispanic or Latino (2016 U.S. Census Bureau estimate). The median household income is $68,449 in the county (2016 U.S. Census Bureau) and $49,775 in the city (2016 U.S. Census Bureau). The population living in poverty is greater in the city (20.7%; 2016 U.S. Census Bureau) than in the county (9.5%; 2016 U.S. Census Bureau).

The Charlottesville/Albemarle EBDM Policy Team is unique in that its work encompasses two jurisdictions (a city and a county) that routinely share resources and have a long history of collaboration. The local and state probation offices have worked together for many years, particularly around the implementation of evidence-based practices (EBP); both were selected as pilot sites by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) and the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC). For Charlottesville/Albemarle, the EBDM initiative provided an opportunity to systematically and collaboratively expand EBP across the justice system decision points; its selection as a pilot site was based in large part on the high level of commitment to EBP and justice system improvements by both city and county officials.

  Profile of Charlottesville/Albemarle County’s Justice System


  Jail Rated Capacity


  Jail Bookings


  Jail Average Daily Population


  Felony Court Filings – Charlottesville General District Court


  Misdemeanor Court Filings – Charlottesville General District Court


  Felony Court Filings – Albemarle County General District Court


  Misdemeanor Court Filings – Albemarle County General District Court


  State Probation Admissions – District 9


  Local Probation Admissions – OAR/Local Probation




The Charlottesville/Albemarle County EBDM Policy Team developed the following mission statement: “The agencies in the Charlottesville/Albemarle criminal justice system seek to achieve justice and make communities safer by working closely together, applying the best-known research to policies and practices, listening to those affected by crime, and recognizing that every interaction can lead to improved outcomes.”

Due to the policy team’s size (i.e., having representatives from two localities for each discipline group), a steering committee was formed to guide the team’s activities. The steering committee, with representation from both the city and county, is responsible for managing day-to-day planning and implementation activities, and for bringing work products to the full policy team for consensus and final approval. The policy team includes:

  • a general district court judge;
  • the chief magistrate;
  • city and county Commonwealth attorneys;
  • a county public defender;
  • city and county police chiefs;
  • city and county sheriffs;
  • city and county victim witness coordinators;
  • the chief probation officer (state level);
  • the director of pretrial services and community corrections (local level);
  • the regional jail superintendent;
  • the community services board director; and
  • the Thomas Jefferson Area criminal justice planner.

The criminal justice planner, employed by the OAR, convenes the EBDM policy team on a monthly basis, provides the policy team with analysis of local criminal justice data, and coordinates the work of a number of work groups. The CCJB provides support to and oversight of the EBDM policy team and its steering committee.


In addition to the change efforts highlighted in this case study, the Charlottesville/Albemarle County EBDM Policy Team also:

  • conducted a review of their domestic violence policies and practices and worked to align them with the research-based “Blueprint Model” for preventing domestic violence homicides;
  • examined court processes for potential streamlining;
  • conducted a gap analysis and fidelity review to determine the degree of alignment between available services and EBP; and
  • expanded its partnership with the University of Virginia to assess and improve automated data collection processes.

Charlottesville/Albemarle joined the EBDM initiative in 2010. Guided by the vision statement “Working together for a safer community, one person at a time,” the EBDM policy team developed a system map, logic model, scorecard, and harm reduction goals. They also identified change targets, developed an implementation plan to address each target, and created a plan to build awareness about their work among their local colleagues. The team developed three work groups that focused on 1) arrest, plea, and trial, 2) sentencing, violations, and supervision, and 3) institutional and community interventions.

This case study offers a summary of the team’s Phase II/III efforts related to:

  • use of actuarial tools to identify recidivism risk and criminogenic needs and enhance jail programming; and
  • efficient and effective responses to violations of probation.

For more information on these change targets, see the Charlottesville/Albemarle County Phase III implementation plan.


Building on their EBDM efforts, the Charlottesville/Albemarle Policy Team sought funding to support ongoing data collection and evaluation. They were awarded a grant from the National Criminal Justice Association as part of the Justice Information Sharing Initiative to build and pilot an integrated database to share information across their criminal justice agencies. The database captures data about incidents, offenders, and offenses across the entire criminal justice system, while complying with national justice information-sharing standards and maintaining individual stakeholders’ legacy data systems.

The Charlottesville/Albemarle County EBDM Policy Team continues with their work of actively implementing the EBDM principles and serves as a model for communities across Virginia. For instance, as a result of their work on ARM, other localities in the Commonwealth have expressed interest in replicating the ARM. In addition, Charlottesville/Albemarle County’s EBDM policy team members have provided multiple presentations on EBDM to state officials and other local stakeholders and at professional association meetings throughout the Commonwealth. Policy team members met with state-level officials to encourage Virginia’s participation in Phase IV and provided valuable assistance in the development of the Commonwealth’s Phase IV, V, and VI applications. Some of its representatives also serve as capacity builders to support expansion of EBDM to other localities in Virginia. Two Charlottesville/Albemarle policy team members serve on the Virginia State EBDM Policy Team and have taken a leadership role in working on two of the state team’s change targets.