NORFOLK, Va. — The Norfolk Sheriff's Office confirmed Friday that it's removing more than 100 inmates from the Hampton Roads Regional Jail.
This comes after the jail lost its accreditation with the American Correctional Association (ACA). The independent agency withdrew its support after four of the facility's inmates died in the span of three weeks in February.
According to releases from the jail, three of those inmates died from underlying medical conditions and health complications, but a reason for the other inmate's death was not provided.
The ACA cited "continuous deaths" in a letter to HRRJ's Interim Superintendent Jeff Vergakis as the reason it pulled its accreditation.
NSO will be recalling 125 of its inmates from the jail. Sheriff Joe Baron released a statement on the decision:
“This is not a decision made lightly. For many months, I maintained optimism that the Hampton Roads Regional Jail’s leadership would put in place a concrete plan to meet the mandates set by the Department of Justice Consent Decree. This mandate includes an increase in security staffing. However, continual staffing shortages and lack of a plan to both overcome those shortages and also become compliant with the consent decree has led to my decision to remove all remaining ‘Norfolk’ inmates from the Regional Jail. My goal is that this move reduces stress on staffing and gives the board time to consider next steps forward.”
That decree requires the jail to make changes to how it treats its inmates for medical and mental health. Under that agreement, the jail needs to increase its staffing, provide better medical screening and create specialized mental health housing for individuals incarcerated at the facility.
Meanwhile, the Chesapeake Sheriff's Office said it will make a decision on removing its inmates next week.
In a statement to 13News Now, Public Information Coordinator Janelle Scott said:
"Sheriff Jim O'Sullivan plans to attend the next board meeting and if there isn't a strategic plan to make immediate change, he is prepared to remove all of Chesapeake's inmates from the facility over the next 60 days. We currently have 168 inmates housed at the HRRJ. Sheriff O'Sullivan feels he has a duty to act as staffing numbers at the jail continue to decline. He doesn't think the jail will be able to hire enough officers and comply with the consent decree.
"Out of due diligence, Sheriff O'Sullivan is waiting until Wednesday's meeting to make the final decision. He will not issue a statement until after the meeting."
Read the letter from the ACA below: