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Here at the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail, the goal of the Programs Department is to help support every offender with their integration back into the community as productive and independently successful. The Programs Department offers offenders’ evidence based classes based off of a risk based needs assessment that will promote the successful reentry of offenders back into the community.

In addition to the classes, the Programs Department also offers Transitional Services that focus specifically on the needs that offenders will have when entering back into community.  Using evidence-based theories proven to have worked in our community we collaborate with other agencies and institutions to include mental health, criminal justice agencies, religious groups, educational agencies K-12 as well as community colleges and universities. This collaboration both within and outside of the institution allows for our inmates to minimize their potential to recidivate offering a mirage of tools and opportunities from various professionals. These services may include assistance obtaining DMV identification, employment within the community, adequate housing and additional necessary documents to help support success. The facility administers its programs in a fair manner in the least restrictive environment consistent with public safety.

If you have any questions about offender programming or would like more information on volunteering to bring a new program to the facility, please contact the Director of Programs, Olivia Dillon.

Currently, the following programs and individual assistance are offered at ACRJ and are subject to change at any time.

Mandatory per Case Management results:


  • Road to Excellence

  • Art

  • Narcotics Anonymous

  • Alcoholics Anonymous

  • Celebrate Recovery for Men

  • The Storybook Project

  • Real Dads

  • Fatherhood

  • Reading & Recovery

  • Women’s Empowerment

  • GOCook (in partnership with Charlottesville Department of Economic Development and Culinary Concepts AB)

  • VDOT Flagger Certification

  • OSHA 10 & OSHA 30 Certification

Good News Jail & Prison Ministry:

The Good News Jail and Prison Ministry believes that God calls us to love and remember the needs of those inmates who are incarcerated in our community. They are someone’s family members, some mother’s child, one of our brothers or sisters. This ministry carries the “good news” of God’s grace, love and hope into a place of regret and sorrow. Each year, the Good News Jail and Prison Ministry raises funds to run programs and activities such as worship services, baptisms, and mentoring. Chaplain Varaksa meets and councils both inmates and staff at ACRJ.


Within 30-90 days of release, inmates will meet with an Employment Facilitator from the Downtown Job Center to discuss their plans for employment after release. At that time, they will receive assistance with crafting a resume to take home with them, as well as information on job fairs and employment opportunities. 

Official Documents

Once inmates have been fully sentenced, they are eligible to receive assistance with gathering and official government documents that they may need. They must contact the Programs Department and specify what documents they would like assistance with, along with their release date.

  • Birth Certificate & DMV ID (Provided by Partnership with Project ID)

  • Social Security Card

  • Bond Eligibility Letter


Meet our Department!

Olivia Dillon ext. 272

Director of Programs

Olivia is a graduate of Radford University and has a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Sociology. She began her career as a Corrections Officer with ACRJ in 2011 and in 2014  began work with the Programs Department. Olivia has worked with both male and female offenders teaching mandatory risk needs programming, and has worked on case plans providing resources and training for those offenders transitioning back into the community. Olivia currently supervises the Programs Department and acts as the liaison for all community volunteers while researching and implementing new programming and certification options for offenders.


Joseph Varaksa ext. 221


Joseph accepted Christ while serving in the United States Navy and began his ministry as a volunteer while stationed at Norfolk Naval Base. After serving six years in the Navy, Joseph turned his attention to full-time ministry and secured his undergraduate degree from Eastern Mennonite University, followed by a Masters of Divinity from Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. In 2000, Joseph and his family were called to Charlottesville where he served at Grace Community Church as Youth Director and Assistant to the Pastor. Joseph first became a Good News volunteer before assuming the role as Chaplain at ACRJ in 2018.


Michelle Young ext. 269​

Programming Facilitator (Males)

Michelle has over 20 years of experience working in the criminal justice field; starting her work in a lawyer’s office before transferring to the Charlottesville area Offender Aid and Restoration office, which all led her here to ACRJ. Michelle utilizes her training in De-escalation techniques and Effective Communication & Motivational Strategies along with evidence-based research to support program activities and effectiveness during her course of work. She facilitates all mandatory risk needs programming for the male offender population and manages a housing unit of over 50 programming offenders.


Lisa Hensley ext.268

Programming Facilitator (Females)

Lisa is a graduate of Chapman University and has a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services and also graduated from Capella University with a Master’s Degree in Social Science with a specialization in Criminal Justice.  She has 20 years of experience working in the Human Services/Criminal Justices field.  Lisa has worked as a Cognitive Counselor and a Probation Officer with the Virginia Department of Corrections and is also a veteran of the U.S. Navy.  Lisa has been with ACRJ since 2017 and facilitates all mandatory risk needs programming for the female offender population.


Vladimir Iotov ext.267

Programming Specialist

Vladimir is a graduate of Glenville State College and has a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. He has been employed in the corrections field since 2013 and previously worked as a corrections Sergeant at WVDOC before moving to Virginia to work at ACRJ in 2017. Vladimir has experience as both a correctional officer and classification officer here at ACRJ, but his current work includes enrollment for offenders in Medicaid and the Inmate Certification programs.

Dianna Wissinger ext.310




Dianna Wissinger graduated from James Madison University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing Education and a minor in Business Administration. She has over 30 years’ experience in education, just not always in the traditional classroom. She taught high school for five years in Fairfax County before moving to Louisville and teaching adults at the Urban League. Dianna also was a coordinator for a literacy league in southeast Indiana. She moved back to Virginia ten years ago and after teaching elementary ages for two years, she transitioned back into teaching adults with the Thomas Jefferson Adult Career Education (TJACE). She started employment with ACRJ in January 2016. She teaches both male and female students in Adult Basic Education and also English for Speakers of Other Languages.

Mignonetta Thomas ext.304


Mignonetta Thomas is a licensed Commonwealth of Virginia Teacher for the Albemarle County Public Schools. She works with special education students aged 18-22 with an active Individual Educational Plan in the local schools system. Mignonetta also teaches male students in Adult Basic Education.

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