RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — After a fifth inmate died inside Richmond’s jail since March of 2022, Sheriff Antionette Irving said operations inside her facility are going “pretty good.”
This interview with 8News comes after another inmate, now identified as Jesse Trent, died in custody. According to a release sent out by Irving, Trent was rushed to the hospital after a “medical emergency” on March 28. He later died at the hospital.
No other information on his death was released by the jail but insider sources tell 8News that Trent was given several doses of Narcan, a medicine used to reverse drug overdoses.
8News reporter Autumn Childress spoke to Trent’s sister, Briana, who said her family is searching for answers about his death.
“No, my brother was not a saint and I know this…my mother knows this… but we do need answers,” Trent said. “Answers need to be provided, they haven’t been in contact with us.”
Trent’s official cause of death has not been released; however, sources tell us of the five inmate deaths, three of them are confirmed fentanyl overdoses. It’s a drug that’s 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin.
“If he did have something in his system, how did it get there?” his sister asked. “There’s no traffic…no visitation, so if they’re getting drugs, they need to figure out how they’re getting in there.”
8News asked the Sheriff this question Tuesday afternoon.
“Drugs get inside the facility in a lot of ways. Someone could be bringing them in, inmates bringing them in putting them in their body parts. We’re doing what we can to catch them,” she said. “Every facility has drugs in it — I don’t know that there’s any facility that doesn’t. It’s a problem in prisons and jails.”
Sheriff Irving said her facility has upped its security measures to respond to the issue, including more body scanners. She says that her deputies are “working hard” to catch the drugs and adds that they’ve been successful.
However, some city leaders like Reva Trammell, have publicly shown discontent with the Sheriff and her operations. In November, after the third inmate’s death, she called on the state to investigate.
Now, she’s renewing those calls and demanding transparency.
“What the hell are we going to do?” she said. “The loved ones are calling me asking me ‘what’s it going to take? Who is going to go in there and find out how the drugs are getting in there?'”
Trent’s family also says they have few answers.
“The Richmond jail is responsible for these five deaths and if they can’t give anybody answers, something needs to be done,” his sister said.
“We offer our condolences, but we’re waiting for the investigation to be completed,” Irving said.
Watch the full interview with Sheriff Antionette Irving here: