Re: Overcrowded Penal System
The Department of Corrections
All concerned families of prisoners and citizens
More Info at:
The Rappahannock Regional Jail (RRJ) is a prime example, and we will shed some light on this topic. Beginning in the past couple of weeks, there has been a large increase in the population here. It became very noticeable when the inmates were let out in shifts about every two hours. By the end of each day, each inmate (men, because I dont know about how bad it is in the womans blocks although Ive heard much worse) has only been outside of his cell for about six hours. Most cells were designed to hold two inmates; currently they are crowded with three to four men, with many sleeping on the floor. The cells are small. The conditions inside are cruel and extremely dangerous, and we believe it is against their civil rights (despite there incarcerated status) and is morally wrong. Massive overcrowding is not only a matter of inconvenience but also a safety concern. Physical injury or death is a possible result of this overcrowding. After speaking with the Deputy Superintendent (Tod Runyon) at the jail I have gathered some disturbing facts shown in the following table (note also that inmate population increase weekly).
Rappahannock Regional Jail Capacity Guidelines
Number Exceeds max capacity by
Maximum capacity 647
Beds in facility 718 71
Inmates as of 7/8/02 840 193
**There are approximately 122 inmates without proper beds and sleeping on the floor.
Mr. Runyon said they are in the progress of converting some classrooms into temporary cells with plans of adding future cells. This may cause the number of classroom programs available to inmates to drop. This will have a negative effect on the jail if someone doesnt intervene. We have been told that the jail has an agreement with DOC that facilitates transfer of custody from the jail to DOC. The jail transfers approximately three people a week. This is not nearly fast enough to handle the influx of prisoners. If only DOC was moving as fast as the arresting police officers on the streets, then it would be a start. We want our incarcerated loved ones, even though they made mistakes, to have the opportunity to live safely and welcome their return to society.
We, in this petition, are all in favor of reinstating parole, good time, and early release on good behavior, because we believe it would alleviate some of the staggering problems within the penal system. Abolishing Mandatory Minimum Sentencing is another focus of our mission. The most urgent of our concerns are with the conditions of this specific jail. They are affecting our loved ones and consequently affecting each one of our lives and all those surrounding us. We look forward to your response and support in our efforts, and we greatly appreciate your attention to these matters.