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.