A. A correctional officer, as defined in § 53.1-1, who has completed the minimum training standards established by the Department of Criminal Justice Services, or other noncustodial employee of the Department of Corrections who has been designated to carry a weapon by the Director of the Department of Corrections pursuant to § 53.1-29 of the Code and who has completed the basic course in detention training as approved by the Department of Criminal Justice Services, may, while on duty in or on the grounds of a correctional institution, or with custody of prisoners without the confines of a correctional institution, detain any person whom he has reasonable suspicion to believe has committed a violation of §§ 18.2-473 through 18.2-475, or of aiding or abetting a prisoner in violating the provisions of § 53.1-203. Such detention shall be for the purpose of summoning a law-enforcement officer in order that the law-enforcement officer can arrest the person who is alleged to have violated any of the above sections.
B. Any employee of the Department of Corrections having the authority to detain any person pursuant to subsection A hereof shall not be held civilly liable for unlawful detention, slander, malicious prosecution, false imprisonment, false arrest, or assault and battery of the person so detained, whether such detention takes place within or without the grounds of a correctional institution, provided that, in causing the detention of such person, the employee had at the time of the detention reasonable suspicion to believe that the person committed a violation for which the detention was undertaken.
1976, c. 740; 1979, c. 642; 1984, cc. 720, 779.