LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — The investigation continues at the Lynchburg Adult Detention Center after dozens of inmates barricaded themselves inside of a housing unit earlier this month.
According to the Lynchburg Police Department, at approximately 6 p.m. on Aug. 10, inmates in one of the maximum security housing units the detention center barricaded themselves in that housing unit, taking it over.
After approximately 14 hours, Lynchburg police officers — along with federal and state law enforcement partners — worked with the inmates to resolve the barricade situation, according to department officials.
Lynchburg Police Chief Ryan Zuidema reported the incident was concluded safely and peacefully at approximately 8 a.m. on Aug. 11, saying all of the inmates were relocated without any use of force and without any serious injuries to inmates or corrections officers.
As of this writing, the Lynchburg Police Department and the Lynchburg Sheriff’s Office have turned the investigation into the barricade incident over to Virginia State Police.
The Blue Ridge Regional Jail Authority Administrator, Josh Salmon, says authorities are exploring a number of reasons as to why the barricade could have happened.
However, inmates and former staff say that when it comes to maintenance, this correctional facility is not doing things correctly.
According to Elliott Clifton, a former correctional officer, “I was only there 20 months and I saw at least 40 officers come and go because they couldn’t deal with the maintenance or the lack of maintenance issues there.”
Clifton quit his job at the detention center this past March.
“You can go in there and smell the mold sometimes and some officers have been affected by it within their respiratory systems and ended up leaving,” said Clifton.
Clifton says mold is just one problem. There are reportedly leaks, plumbing issues, outdated camera systems, unsecured doors, and other security malfunctions that can give inmates the opportunity to get out of their cells.
“Sometimes they use napkins or tissues to stuff into the locking mechanisms or the broken tray slots that are always broken,” said Clifton.
In addition, Salmon says they don’t have enough staff.
“I would say that our staffing levels have required us to keep inmates locked down more than normal,” said Salmon. “As far as them being locked down for days on end, that’s simply false.”
Inmate Veshawn Fuller says many inmates are getting fed up with living conditions.
“We haven’t been outside in like two weeks,” Fuller said. “There are 14 cells that don’t work properly with the toilets and in the other cells, most of the water doesn’t work in the room.”
“Though they’ve done something wrong and need to be punished for their crimes, I don’t think living conditions should be sub-par,” added Clifton.
Now that inmates have acted out, Salmon says that not only is there more property damage to deal with, but some inmates could face additional charges.
“Potentially attempting to escape; inciting a riot, which we don’t consider this to be a riot, but that’s just kind of how the code section is written; and maybe one or two more,” said Salmon
The Blue Ridge Regional Jail Authority plans to meet with the Lynchburg Police Department and Virginia State Police later this week to go over some improvements that need to be made.
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