JARRATT, Va. -- Three inmates in the Greensville Correctional Center died over two days earlier this week, officials confirmed.
Family members of loved ones incarcerated there are now left wondering if they are healthy - both physically and mentally.
“I haven’t spoken to him in a few days, which is not normal," said a woman whose loved one is at Greensville and has asked to remain anonymous. "It makes me think the worst, and I worry about him daily.”
The three deaths occurred in separate incidents on July 30 and 31, a spokesperson with the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) said. Staff members found the inmates unresponsive and administered the overdose-blocking drug, Naloxone, but officials said two inmates died at the hospital and the other at the prison.
Officials said officers were sweeping the building for other narcotics, and the VADOC website said visitations at the facility for the weekend were canceled.
All visitors at Greensville go through body scanners and near a drug-sniffing dog, the woman with a loved one there said, which matches with VADOC's posted security procedures.
“I don’t think the process could be any more in-depth," she said. “I think they do a really good job with that, and that’s why I’m saying, if this is related to something like that, I think it’s probably from the inside.”
Last year, VADOC reported 14 incidents at all Virginia correctional facilities where an inmate or corrections officer was caught with drugs. Since visitations stopped during COVID-19, officials said they have seen an increase in the number of drugs sent to inmates through the mail.
Visitations have resumed, although not to pre-pandemic levels, and VADOC has taken various steps to prevent drugs sent through the mail from reaching inmates.
The overdoses come at a time when Virginia prisons are seeing a spike in overdoses out of the pandemic. According to a report from March, there were 85 overdoses at VADOC facilities in 2022, the highest single-year total since 2016.
The woman with a loved one at Greensville said she wishes her family could get a simple phone call from him. While the prison remains on high alert, she worries about his physical and mental health.
"Maybe speaking to a loved one, just knowing that someone who understands me, who loves me, I can truly voice how I feel," she said. “Some people, they turn a blind eye because they’re inmates. They are still humans.”
The three deaths at Greensville remain under investigation.
This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email email@example.com to send a tip.