PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Sheriff Michael Moore wants a judge to force city leaders to make improvements to the Portsmouth City Jail.

The city tried to condemn the jail last month. Signs on the front door of the waterfront building said it was unfit for humans. The next day, Sheriff Moore filed a lawsuit and got a judge to stay the case for 60 days, meaning the jail can stay open – for now.

A condemnation notice was placed on the Portsmouth City Jail on July 25th, 2019. (Scott Blessing/WAVY-TV)

Now, citing Virginia Code, Sheriff Moore’s attorney says it’s the responsibility of the city to make sure it has an adequate jail.

In a petition filed on August 2, Sheriff Moore claims the city has not done its job when it comes to maintaining the building. Moore also attached a recent inspection report that said the building needs dozens of improvements adding up to more than $18 million. The repairs include plumbing improvements, fire protection system upgrades, boiler replacements and more.

The Sheriff invited 10 On Your Side to tour the building last week, and our Chris Horne said he could not find any issues that would call for an immediate shutdown.

There are more than 27 pages of recommended improvements the Sheriff says the city needs to make. Click here to see the entire report.