CBS 6 investigates two more inmate deaths at Greensville Correctional Center

Posted at 12:51 PM, Oct 31, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-01 17:06:33-04

JARRATT, Va. — The Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) is investigating two more inmate deaths at Greensville Correctional Center, bringing the total to six in the last three months.

An inmate was found unresponsive Saturday in the infirmary of Greensville Correctional Center, according to a VADOC spokesman.

The prisoner, who sources said was 87, was later pronounced dead.

A second inmate was found unresponsive in his cell Monday.

The VADOC said that life-saving measures were administered, but the inmate did not survive.

Sources tell CBS 6 that in the second case, staff found the inmate in the top bunk with a blanket covering his face.

They also said the inmate’s face and left hand had turned purple in color and blood was coming from his nose.

Sources also said that the inmate was given multiple doses of the overdose-reversal drug Narcan.

As CBS 6 reported earlier this month, Narcan use at Greensville has more than quadrupled since last year, with around four dozen doses administered so far this year compared with just 10, in 2022. However, in 2021, 47 doses were given according to the DOC.

Sources say in the last week they’ve had to administer Narcan to at least three inmates at the facility.

Just last month, six inmates were criminally charged for testing positive for drugs or being in possession of them.

These latest deaths come amidst a renewed push to keep drugs from coming into Greensville, and at a time when the prison is facing what sources call a staffing crisis.

Through the Freedom of Information Act, CBS 6 requested monthly overtime hours from the VADOC for this past summer. The monthly overtime average was 15,300 hours. That includes all Greensville employees in all departments, including separated employees.

Greensville Overtime Hours

  • June 2023 13,400.9
  • July 2023 15,179.6
  • August 2023 17,372.0

CBS 6 also requested the monthly percentage of vacant positions at the facility from June to August. However, the VADOC denied our request citing safety concerns. It instead provided vacancy percentages for the Eastern District for which Greensville is included. The vacancy average in the district was 33% for that time period.

Vacancy Detail Eastern Region

  • June 2023 29.27%
  • July 2023 35.26%
  • August 2023 33.35%

Sources say there aren't enough officers to fully staff floors and that non-security staff has had to do work security positions.
Sources say incident reports show staffing constraints have led to restricted movement amongst inmates, modified operations, and no recreation. Sources say medication such as insulin delivery has even been delayed due to being short-staffed.

Through FOIA, CBS 6 has obtained an email that was sent from a VADOC official to a number of wardens which states “significant changes" are coming regarding visitation and search procedures, both at Greensville and other state prisons.

CBS 6 asked the VADOC whether changes have been implemented yet at prisons.

"Changes have been made regarding allowable items that staff is allowed to bring inside VADOC facilities," said Kyle Gibson, director of communications for the department.

That list, updated in late September, can be viewed here. It details which items must be run through a metal detector and x-ray machine, and the rules regarding cell phones and medication, both prescription and over-the-counter drugs, among other regulations.

Previously, VADOC issued a statement regarding the drug problem:

The VADOC’s mission is to safely provide effective incarceration in all of its facilities, which includes a zero-tolerance policy towards drugs and other contraband.

VADOC Security Staff members, the Centralized Mail Unit, and Drug Task Force members play an active role in stopping the flow of drugs and contraband. Additionally, all employees are urged to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious.

The VADOC is committed to continuing the fight against drugs, especially fentanyl, and other contraband in order to ensure long-lasting public safety for the people of the Commonwealth.

Governor Glenn Youngkin visited the VADOC on Monday. Before his visit, CBS 6 investigative reporter Laura French asked his office if the Governor would be addressing the issues at Greensville.

His spokesperson referred to this statement the governor made Wednesday morning:

“I was at our Department of Corrections on Monday of this week, and I met with our new director, Judge Dotson, and I'm very impressed with the high level of attention that he is personally bringing to this issue. We have to have a zero tolerance. And in fact, there was just recently an arrest of a guard at one of our correctional facilities who was participating in an illegal drug ring, that contraband cannot be allowed into our correctional facilities. We are taking this incredibly seriously. And and I think people will be will be held accountable. Most importantly, Judge Dotson is personally on this. And I know that he's visiting these correctional facilities to make sure that we stop this.” 

Depend on CBS 6 News and for in-depth coverage of this important local story. Anyone with more information can email to send a tip.

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