Officials say prisons built without AC providing fans, extra ice amid heat warnings

Virginia News

(WRIC) — The Virginia Department of Corrections said Saturday that steps have been taken to ensure the safety of inmates at several Virginia prisons without air conditioning systems. This comes as the metro Richmond area is under its first excessive heat warning in seven years.

According to a Virginia Department of Corrections spokesperson, the prisons in Buckingham, Nottoway and Augusta were not built with air conditioning systems. In total, there are 18 prisons in Virginia that were built without AC units.

A statement from the VADOC says that there have been fans installed “to keep housing units as comfortable as possible.”

Eighteen facilities designed and built without climate control air conditioning are still in use by the VADOC. Within these facilities, staff has installed additional fans to keep housing units as comfortable as possible. In addition, extra ice and water are available to help everyone remain hydrated in the elevated temperatures.

All other VADOC facilities have climate control air conditioning; most were constructed after 1990. Three of the department’s larger facilities built prior to 1990 have been retrofitted with climate control air conditioning.”

VDOC statement

The disclosure from VADOC that 18 prisons were built without AC units comes after 8News learned that Henrico County’s Jail West experienced issues with low water pressure and its AC units Friday afternoon.

Greg Carter, a spokesperson for VADOC, told 8News that water and fans have been provided to inmates and staff of the three prisons. Carter also said that the prisons with AC systems have not experienced any issues.

8News has heard from inmates’ family members who claim that additional fans have not been provided at several prisons.

Stay with 8News for updates to this developing story.

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