The Virginia State Farm Prison was located on over 4,000 acres of land on both sides of the James River in Goochland and Powhatan Counties. The facility opened in the 1890s.
A 1923 Times-Dispatch article described the facility as “A place of ideal beauty, with its lovely old trees, its green lawns and well cultivated fields, its rolling pastures, through which the James River winds, and its neat, well kept buildings.” At the time, the Powhatan side of the farm was used primarily for chicken raising and on the Goochland side; there was a dairy with a herd of over 200 cows which resided in the fields. The 1923 article described the dairy as “quite modern” and “efficient.”
In 1931, female prisoners were introduced to the prison farm. The Virginia Correctional Center for Women (VCCW), a medium security prison in Goochland, Virginia, was founded when female inmate populations were getting too large for local jails.
In 1950, an industrial laundromat was opened at the women’s prison facility where an average of 10 million pounds of linens were washed per year. By 1963, what became known as The Women’s Farm Laundry, washed linens for the Medical College of Virginia, Beaumont School for Boys, the Virginia Treatment Center and over 330 farm inmates.
The main compound of the State Farm facility, later known as the James River Correctional Center, closed in 2011. Other parts of the prison are still active today.