RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia House of Delegates has passed a bill that expands the definition of “local correctional facility” to include the two immigration detention facilities operated in the state.
Senate Bill 5017, introduced by Senator Jennifer Boysko, would require immigrant detention facilities to meet the state’s health and safety standards.
Caroline County Detention Center and Immigration Centers of America-Farmville would fall under the state’s definition of a “local correctional facility” once the bill gets signed by Northam.
“With passage of SB5017 (Boysko) in the House of Delegates this afternoon, Virginia takes an important first step towards bringing oversight and accountability to the Farmville and Caroline County immigrant detention facilities,” Luis A. Oyola with the Immigrant Advocacy Program said. “Detention kills. We demand an end to the needless loss of life.”
The coronavirus outbreak at Farmville infected over 300 people detained at the facility from June to early July. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted an investigation after multiple Virginia leaders sent letters to President Donald Trump requesting that the CDC intervene.
This week, COVID-19 cases at the Caroline County Detention Center have spiked. ICE is reporting that 32 detainees have tested positive for coronavirus.
Northam’s signing of SB 5017 would allow the state board of local and regional jails to do the following:
- Set minimum sanitation standards
- Order unannounced inspections
- Allow the board to prohibit confinement and require the transfer of prisoners in substandard facilities
- Allow the board to review the death of an inmate
- Allow access to the facility for members of local governing bodies
The bill is heading to the governor’s desk.
Stay with us for updates.