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Inmate dies at Riverside Regional Jail weeks after being allowed to stay open

Riverside Regional Jail
Posted at 4:08 PM, Nov 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-10 16:09:04-05

PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, Va. — Another inmate has died at a Virginia jail, just weeks after a state board voted to allow it to remain open under an agreement that arose from an investigation into previous deaths.

Samuel Dupont, 33, who was transferred to Riverside Regional Jail from the Chesterfield County Jail on Oct. 23, was found unresponsive in his cell Oct. 29 and was pronounced dead 17 minutes later after resuscitation efforts failed, Lt. Charlene Jones said in a release to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Riverside officials did not identify the inmate, a reversal of previous practice, but the newspaper obtained his name after filing a Freedom of Information Act request with the Chesterfield Sheriff’s Office, which operates the jail where Dupont was held before being transferred to Riverside.

Riverside officials said in the release the inmate’s cause of death appears to be a suicide, but the jail said it has not yet received the state medical examiner’s report. Jones said the inmate left behind "a detailed suicide note.”

Riverside Superintendent Larry Leabough did not respond to a text seeking comment from the newspaper.

Other inmate deaths occurred between January and March.

Riverside has been under state scrutiny for inmate deaths since 2019, when the Virginia Board of Local and Regional Jails placed Riverside on probation after the board’s jail review committee found that staff failings may have contributed to the deaths of two inmates who killed themselves in 2017.

In April, the jail committee recommended that Riverside be decertified and closed after an investigation found jail staff may have directly or indirectly been responsible for three prisoner deaths in 2019 and 2020 and failed to comply within minimum correctional standards set by the state.

That led to an agreement signed Sept. 23 between Riverside and the state jail board that details specific conditions to which Riverside must comply to avoid decertification and closure. The agreement is designed to correct deficiencies in jail operations and medical care.