Virginia Industrial School for Boys
|Virginia Industrial School for Boys|
|Building Style||Cottage Plan|
In the north-central part of Powhatan County is located the state-owned and operated juvenile correctional center known as Beaumont Juvenile Correctional Center. It was founded in 1890 in Laurel, located north of Richmond. The first of four schools established in Virginia for the care of delinquent children, it was formerly called The Virginia Industrial School for Boys and Beaumont Learning Center. In 1920, the school was moved to Beaumont, and the property known as Beaumont, Estranola and Bullocks (part of an original grant from the King of England to the Michaux family of Powhatan) was purchased with the property totaling 2,400 acres. In 1922, the school that was formerly under the State Board of Charities and Corrections was placed under the Children's Bureau of the state board of public welfare.
The Children's Bureau then became the agency that decided whether the child would be sent to Beaumont. The Reorganization Act of 1927 changed the name of the State Board of Public Welfare to the State Department of Public Welfare; however, the facility was still controlled by the board under the general direction of that department. In 1942, the General Assembly passed a law, which abolished the Board of Directors, and put the facility under the care of the State Department of Public Welfare and the Commissioner of Public Welfare. In 1952, a Division of Youth Services that included Beaumont was formed in the Department of Welfare and Institutions.
Due to a lack of facilities prior to 1959, many residents spent a good portion of their time working on Beaumont's farm, or otherwise maintaining the institution. During 1959, a new academic and vocational building was completed, offering an expanded academic program and vocational opportunities. A second phase or expansion was completed in 1972, which, along with ending the farming operation, allowed every resident to attend academic school (approximately 90% received vocational training). From 1974 until June of 1990, Beaumont was part of the Division of Youth Services in the Department of Corrections. In 1990, a new state agency was created for juvenile corrections, known as The Department of Youth and Family Services. The name of the agency was changed in 1996 to the Department of Juvenile Justice, of which Beaumont is currently a part.
Approximately 200 residents were moved in 1997 from the old cottages to two new medium security buildings. A maximum security building opened in January 1998 to house 122 residents. The historic cottages were converted to treatment, volunteer, and recreation offices. With the closure of the Hanover juvenile correctional facility in April 2013, some Hanover residents were relocated to Beaumont. As part of the same consolidation effort, residents of DJJ’s Oak Ridge program, formerly housed at a facility on the Bon Air JCC campus, also were relocated to Beaumont.