RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Many of the Virginia Department of Corrections facilities built before the 1990s do not have any air conditioning, resulting in difficult summer conditions for around 23% of inmates in the Commonwealth.
During the summer of 2019, 8News heard from the family members of numerous inmates who said the lack of cooling measures oppressive and resulting in illness for many inmates. Many people said their loved ones were not being given water, fans or ice.
This year as the weather heats up, the Virginia Department of Corrections sent a release addressing how they plan to keep people in the six unairconditioned facilities healthy and comfortable.
People incarcerated at these facilities will be given extra ice, ice pouches and water to keep them hydrated. There will be extra fans installed as well. Some facilities also use misting fans to keep people cool and smoke exhaust fans to release hot air from the units.
Over the last year the department of corrections says it has spent over $2 million on cooling efforts, not including air conditioning installations.
The Haynesville Correctional Unit, Marion Correctional Treatment and Halifax Correctional Unit will be the next three facilities to have air conditioning units installed.