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Families Report Deplorable Conditions

Jul 10, 2012 | by Nation Inside team

Families Report Deplorable Conditions at Virginia’s Central Virginia Correctional Unit #13, a Field Unit for Virginia’s Incarcerated Women.

Families Report Deplorable Conditions at Virginia’s Central Virginia Correctional Unit #13, a Field Unit for Virginia’s Incarcerated Women.

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VIRGINA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS –  Reports are coming in regarding conditions at the Central Virginia Correctional Unit #13 (female field unit). These reports claim that the air conditioning units in the women’s housing areas have been disabled since last September, that the women have been denied ice, that the facility smells like sewage, that serious health issues are arising amongst the women due to the severe heat, that candy bars purchased by visitors from the vending machines in the visitation area are melted, and the facility’s superintendent has known about the problem since last year and refused to take corrective action. Some families have even claimed that the superintendent has indicated the situation could get worse if the families continued to complain.

When our organization called and asked if the air conditioning was operating in the facility, and if not was it due to the recent storm; the gentleman in the control room took a long pause and then transferred us to a Lieutenant. We gave the same question to the Lieutenant who had the same long pause…  Eventually, we were put through to Superintendent Tammy Estep’s voicemail.

Upon receiving a return call from Superintendent Estep on Friday (July 7, 2012), we were told by Ms. Estep, herself, that the problem was moisture back up in the duct work that had created an unsanitary mildew problem within insulation. She stated that they had just started the repairs that day, and duct work would need to be replaced. She also stated that the “offenders” could go to the basement recreation areas where it is cool and where they also have visitation. However, over the weekend, family members reported that the conditions in those basement recreation/visitation areas were horrendous with extreme heat, lack of ventilation, and unsanitary hazards. Given the record breaking heat indexes in the region, we are greatly concerned for the well-being of the women housed at this facility.

In addition, the Virginia Department of Corrections lists this facility as a site where the PenPals program operates to allow the female prisoners to train dogs. One has to wonder with all the recent charges of animal abuse in shelters and breeding facilities if these conditions would also be jeopardizing any pets that might be at the facility.

AdvoCare is preparing to launch a call-in campaign to voice our concerns with Virginia’s Governor, Bob McDonnell, who has brought a great deal of focus to prisoner reentry.  Certainly, these types of situations are not conducive to positive reentry.

Check back as we launch the campaign.  We will need your support!

Of course, anyone interested can contact the Governor’s officeat (804) 786-2211 and check with the facility on its repair progress at (804)796-4277.

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