CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Several families reached out to 8News with concerns that the heatwave is taking its effect on Virginia jails without air conditioning – leaving inmates in oppressive conditions.
Families told 8News the temperature in Nottoway County Correctional Center is excessive, causing inmates to fall ill as a result of no air conditioning.
The Virginia Department of Corrections issued a release that states there are 18 facilities that were built without air conditioning that are still being utilized today.
As a result, jail staff is using fans, extra ice and water to keep inmates hydrated.
“It’s degrading, demoralizing,” said Adam Young. He’s the father of an inmate at Nottoway Correctional Center and says “they’re there for punishment, they’re not there for torture.”
“They’re laying on the floor on the concrete because it’s cool,” Young said. “It’s the only place they can lay without passing out.”
Describing some of the details, he told 8News his son says the inside of his cell is 125-degrees.
That’s not the only problem, according to Young.
“They’re under a water shortage right now,” he said in a phone interview with 8News. “They’re not allowed to flush the toilets, they’re not allowed to take showers. They only get ice three times a day which is one cup of ice… three times a day.”
But for Denny Barger, who has family and friends in Nottoway, she says problems are also affecting Buckingham and Augusta Correctional Centers.
“My concern is for everyone as a whole in those buildings as a whole,” Barger said in a phone interview with 8News. “Whether they’re working there or they’re an offender there. They’re there without air conditioning as hot as it is, it’s inhumane.”
She told 8News no extra fans were handed out to inmates and some had to even share ice.
Worse, 8News learned that some jails also continue to deal with water restrictions, limiting inmates to two showers a week.
For Barger, who leads a group for families of those incarcerated, she says just because inmates are locked up, doesn’t make it right for them to have to live in oppressive conditions.
“This is scary,” Barger said. “This scares us to death.”