VADOC announces summer weather preparations to keep staff, inmates safe

Summer heat poses a major safety risk for correctional facilities nationwide

By Sarah Sinning

As temperatures rise each summer, so, too, do the chances for both inmates and prison staff to have heat-related emergencies.

That's why the Virginia Department of Corrections has spent more than $2.16 million in the past year to keep its facilities cool; it also plans to undertake renovations totalling nearly $7 million at three facilities by next fall so that air-conditioning can be efficiently installed for future use. 

The department is now wrapping up a $.5 million installation at Haynesville Correctional Center.

Currently, 77% of the state's 24,000 inmates are housed in facilities that can be air-conditioned in the event of soaring temperatures. 

In the remaining 23%, the department provides fans, ice packs and additional drinking water. Inmates also have access to ice machines.

Some facilities have begun using misting fans for additional cooling. 

Next: A correctional guide to staying cool and safe in summer heat

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