LAWRENCEVILLE, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia’s only privately-run prison, Lawrenceville Correctional Center, had to cut off water in two of the facility’s six units twice last week in order to repair leaky pipes.
A spokeswoman for the state’s Department of Corrections, Lisa Kinney, told 8News that the repairs took place on July 16-17. The units that were impacted house 256 inmates.
“Though water spills occurred in the two buildings Thursday and early Friday, they involved fresh water only,” Kinney said. “There was never any raw sewage in the housing units, and corrections officers are working at their assigned posts as required.”
Lawrenceville, which is owned by the department of corrections but is operated by GEO Group, Inc., houses a total of 1,500 offenders. The facility has air-conditioning, Kinney told 8News.
Kinney said that after the water was turned back on, debris in the water line created a backup over the weekend in two units, straining the facility’s outflow pumps. Crews worked to remove the debris and the department of corrections told 8News that normal operations resumed Tuesday afternoon.
The correctional center’s toilets and sinks “are working fine,” according to Kinney, but she told 8News on Tuesday that the showers, which worked during the weekend after being shut down Friday, are down again as crews attempt to fix the plumbing situation. Kinney said that inmates have flushed objects, such as sheets, that have caused clogs.
“After the water was restored in the two units late Friday, most men in the housing units took showers. By Saturday afternoon, this created a large outflow,” she told 8News’ Kerri O’Brien in an email. “Debris in the outflow and excessive pressure caused a backup.”
After receiving reports of an altercation at the facility on Saturday, 8News reached out to the GEO Group for more details. A GEO Group spokesperson told 8News in a statement that two inmates were hurt but no changes have been made inside the facility as it was a “minor incident.”
“On July 18th, there was an altercation involving several inmates at the Lawrenceville Correctional Center. Two of the inmates received were transported to the local hospital for treatment. There have been no operational changes at the Center due to this minor incident,” the spokesperson said.