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Department of Corrections to close four facilities, take over operations at privately-run prison

The Virginia Department of Corrections will close four facilities next year and take over operation of a prison that’s been privately run.

The department announced today/Friday that the Augusta Correctional Center, Sussex Two prison, Haynesville Correctional Unit Number 17, and the Stafford Community Corrections Alternative Program will close by July 1.

The department will also take over operations at the Lawrenceville Correctional Center when a contract with the GEO Group ends in August. Lawrenceville is the state’s only privately operated prison and has been plagued with reports of mistreatment and staffing problems.

Here is the complete announcement from the Va. Dept. of Corrections:

Richmond – Today, Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) Director Chad Dotson announced several actions to enhance public safety and increase operational efficiency within the Department’s facilities.

Augusta Correctional Center, Sussex II State Prison, Haynesville Correctional Unit #17 and Stafford Community Corrections Alternative Program (CCAP) will be closed, effective July 1, 2024. These decisions were made to enhance employee, inmate, and probationer safety, to address longstanding staffing challenges, and in consideration of significant ongoing maintenance costs.

The VADOC has already started the process of working with staff to identify job placement opportunities within the agency to ensure the opportunity for continuous employment and career advancement. The Department will work diligently to ensure that all employees who wish to remain employed with the VADOC will be able to stay with the agency.

Employees from Sussex II State Prison and Haynesville Correctional Unit #17 have already been temporarily reassigned, primarily to the neighboring Sussex I State Prison and Haynesville Correctional Center.

The VADOC will also assume control of Lawrenceville Correctional Center, the only privately operated prison in Virginia, at the end of the current contract term, August 1, 2024. The Department has been made aware that Governor Glenn Youngkin plans to introduce a budget with additional funding needed for the VADOC to safely assume control of the facility next year.

The VADOC intends to work with the GEO Group at Lawrenceville Correctional Center to ensure that current employees are afforded the opportunity to apply for state employment.

“Governor Youngkin’s budget enhances public safety and increases efficiency inside Virginia’s prisons for staff members, inmates and everyone who lives and works in Virginia,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Terrance “Terry” Cole. “I believe these steps will help the VADOC further its mission of public safety and operational excellence.”

“I am deeply appreciative of Governor Youngkin’s support to help the Department gain additional efficiency and promote the security and safety of the employees and inmates at the VADOC, especially our security staff,” said Director Dotson.

“I am committed to ensuring that those individuals impacted by facility closures will be able to maintain continuous employment within VADOC if they choose to do so,” Director Dotson continued. “Members of the Department’s leadership and I met with affected staff at their facilities today and will continue to meet with them in the coming days. Our dedicated employees work every day to create long-term public safety in the Commonwealth of Virginia. I value them, and our leadership and human resources staff are here to answer their questions and hear their feedback as we support them during this transition.”

David Seidel is Radio IQ's News Director.
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