GREENSVILLE COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Inmates and staff at Greensville Correctional Center are currently suffering due to staffing concerns, according to an 8News source.
A Greensville Correctional Officer — who wished to remain anonymous — told 8News staffing concerns are to blame for a number of recent issues inside the facility. Recently, there have been multiple reported deaths, cellblock fires, a lockdown and an escaped inmate.
“There’s definitely not enough COs [Correctional Officers],” they said. “It’s mentally and physically exhausting day to day. You never know what you’re going to run into. Sometimes you have to rely more on the inmates for your safety because you really can’t rely on your officers to get there.”
The officer told 8News there are 50 inmates for every one officer.
“We don’t have anything close to that,” they said. “I’d probably say we don’t even have 80% of that.”
8News reached out to the Virginia Department of Corrections (DOC) to learn where the department stands with its staffing numbers. A spokesperson responded with the following statement.
The Virginia Department of Corrections does not release vacancy data for security personnel by individual location. Security staffing policies, plans, and specific levels are withheld to maintain the confidentiality and integrity of our security measures and prevent potential threats or breaches. It should be noted the DOC also employs a variety of strategies to augment staffing levels at sites experiencing high vacancy levels, and these rates alone are not a complete picture of staffing. For example, staff are often deployed across DOC locations to meet operational needs and support the overall public safety mission.Spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Corrections
“If you’re asking for volunteers from other institutions to help with the shortage, then obviously somebody has to know,” said the anonymous officer. “We’re running around here shorthanded.”
Without adequate staffing, the officer says workers at Greensville Correctional are unable to perform their daily tasks to the best of their ability. One such side effect is reducing the amount of time inmates can spend out of their cells because there aren’t enough officers to monitor them.
“These guys get so frustrated because then they’re made to go back into their cells. Well, if there’s not an officer on the floor to control the movement, it becomes chaos,” they said. “They haven’t spoken to their families in over a month. They don’t know what’s going on. Their families don’t know what’s going on.”
Despite recruiting efforts, such as sign-on bonuses and transfers from other facilities, the officer says the facility is still struggling to keep up with demand.
“What’s going to happen is if they continue on the way it is, we’re gonna get taken over,” the officer said.