PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – The board of the Hampton Roads Regional Jail plans to announce the closure of the facility in their September meeting, according to an email obtained by 10 On Your Side.
Portsmouth Sheriff Michael Moore sent the email to members of City Council expressing concerns about a conversation that happened between his attorney and interim Portsmouth City Manager Mimi Terry at the HRRJ’s board meeting on Wednesday.
“The discussion centered around Ms. Terry attempting to negotiate a deal with the Newport News Sheriff’s Office and the Hampton Sheriff’s Office for those two cities inmates remaining at the regional after the facility is closed,” Moore wrote. “In the meeting today, the board stated they will announce the closing of the regional jail in the September meeting.”
HRRJ leadership declined to comment on the jail’s closure when asked for comment on Thursday.
Moore also wrote that Terry should have a discussion with him about the possibility of moving the Portsmouth City Jail to the HRRJ after the facility closes.
“As you all know, the Portsmouth City Jail is challenging maintaining the structure in a functioning and safe facility for our employees and the incarcerated that we are responsible for housing,” he wrote.
“Ms. Terry made it clear will not have any type of discussion with me,” Moore added.
Moore declined to comment on the closure of the HRRJ when contacted by 10 On Your Side’s investigative team.
The HRRJ was opened in 1998 to house inmates from Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk and Portsmouth. Chesapeake joined the HRRJ Authority in 2016. HRRJ has one of the largest self-contained medical units in Virginia, providing inmates with dialysis, dental services and mental health care, according to its website.
The HRRJ’s history is marred with legal issues. A two-year investigation released by the Department of Justice in 2018 that the jail violated mentally ill and disabled prisoners’ rights due to restrictive housing practices.
The investigation cited two high-profile deaths of HRRJ inmates: Jamycheal Mitchell and Henry Clay Stewart, Jr. Mitchell was a mentally ill inmate who died of wasting syndrome in August 2015 while waiting in solitary confinement at the HRRJ for a judge-ordered transfer to Eastern State Hospital in Williamsburg. The Daily Press reported that Stewart was in the HRRJ on a probation violation when he died in August 2016 after he was found bleeding from a perforated stomach ulcer.
10 On Your Side is working to reach members of the HRRJ Authority for comment and will update this story as we receive responses.
When asked for comment, Portsmouth Mayor Shannon Glover says as a council member he’s precluded from interfering in day-to-day operations. He says he’s leaving the matter to Terry, who he says is doing a good job. Terry also declined to comment for this story.