Jail

By Zach Armstrong

PRINCE GEORGE, Va -- The Board of Local and Regional Corrections Jail Review Committee has recommended that Riverside Regional Jail be decertified and that its incarcerated individuals be sent back to their localities of origin.

A statement released by the Jail stated it “does not feel as if this recommendation is warranted and looks forward to presenting all the facts to the committee and board when given the opportunity.”

The release went on to explain that the three inmate deaths that occured at the Jail cited by the committee had occurred in 2019 and 2020 with two resulting from natural causes due to chronic health conditions. The other, according to the release, was a suicide of an inmate under supervision from a mental health proffesional.

“RRJA spends $6 million in local funds annually on inmate medical and mental health services and partners with a national corrections health care company to provide the best treatment and care that it can,” the release stated, going on to say “This recommendation appears to be misplacing the responsibility for systematic criminal justice and mental health failures on Riverside, which like most large jails has sadly become a de facto health and mental health institution.”

Riverside Regional Jail is one of the largest jails in central Virginia housing approximately 1,300 inmates for Petersburg, Colonial Heights, Hopewell and the counties of Chesterfield, Charles City, Surry and Prince George.

The jail was placed on “probationary certification” in July of 2019 after a Virginia Department of Corrections jail review committee found issues that could have contributed to two inmate deaths in 2017.

Last year, the Superintendent of Riverside Regional Jail resigned in frustration after serving her role for nine months. “Rather than assist and support my efforts to bring this jail into compliance, the Board has instead created working conditions that are so intolerable I am forced to resign,” Carmen I. DeSadier wrote in her resignation letter. Larry J. Leabough, a retired Virginia Department of Corrections administrator, was tapped to become the Jail’s new superintendent four months later.