October 9, 2020
Gay Gardner, IAHR's Virginia Advisor, has been reporting that there has been a serious outbreak of Covid-19 at the Fluvanna Women's Prison in Virginia. In late September it was reported by the Fluvanna Review that "at least 115 inmates and 10 staff members at the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women (FCCW) have tested positive for COVID-19 since early September, and two are currently hospitalized." Needless to say women with underlying medical conditions are frightened about the prospect of coming down with the virus.
Cynthia Scott and Melissa Atkins are two women with underlying medical conditions at Fluvanna Women's Prison that Gay has been in touch with and has tried to help. They've been going through an especially hard time during the COVID pandemic. They and their families have posted a petition on Change.org urging Governor Northam to grant them immediate release. Please consider signing their petition and sharing it with others.
In addition, it was reported today in the South Boston News & Record and Mecklenburg Sun that there has been a renewed flare up of the virus at the Baskerville Correctional Center. "As of Tuesday, the Virginia Department of Corrections reported 87 offenders who have contracted COVID-19 are being housed at the Baskerville prison. Four employees there also have been infected. One employee — 66-year-old prison warden Earl Barksdale — has died of the disease.
One offender at the multi-custody facility is currently hospitalized, but the other 86 infected inmates are housed either at the prison visitor center, or inside another pod designated as a quarantine area for those with the virus."
Incarcerated men at Baskerville are reporting crowded conditions, lack of medical grade PPE, and lack of hot food. To read the whole news article, click here.
The Virginia Department of Corrections has not gotten on top of this situation. They have released very few prisoners because of their underlying medical conditions nor have they released those who are approaching their actual release date. More can be done to protect the incarcerated in Virginia prisons!