RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) found the Richmond City Justice Center to be “in compliance” after an annual unannounced inspection took place Thursday, Feb. 9. The inspection took place just two days after 8News received confirmation the jail was under investigation after the fourth inmate death at the jail in less than a year.
The VADOC inspects all jails and prisons throughout the commonwealth. Richmond’s annual, unannounced inspection reportedly covered 43 standards relating to life, health, safety, security, management and operations within the jail. It also claims to include an inspection of the facility and contracted services such as medical, maintenance and food services.
The Richmond Sheriff’s Office reports it has passed all audits and inspections since Sheriff Antoinette Irving took office in 2018. Although, just last month, Sheriff Irving admitted there were issues at the jail — including a staffing shortage of 170 deputies and drugs making their way into the jail.
“I’ve been in this business 30 years and it has been an issue and probably will continue to be,” Irving told 8News in January. “It’s difficult, but our staff is working really hard to ensure that we’re doing the things that need to be done. They’re coming in and working overtime.”
Richmond City Councilwoman Reva Trammell has been outspoken on issues at the jail and has repeatedly voiced concerns about conditions within, saying, “The inmates are running that jail. How are the drugs getting in there?”
Sources within the jail have recently told 8News that, within the last two weeks, two other inmates were also rushed to nearby hospitals for drug overdose treatment. When 8News reached out to the sheriff’s office for comment, we received no response.
8News has made FOIA requests for records of the communication between the Virginia Board of Local and Regional Jails and the Richmond City Justice Center.
“I am pleased with these inspection results and the comments provided relating to our operations here at the justice center. Our staff and contractors work hard every day and I thank them for their commitment and dedication. It’s a tough job and they are performing it well. We will continue to strive for excellence while serving the citizens of Richmond,” Sheriff Irving said in the inspection announcement release.