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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

What about Virginia Beach Jail inmates during the hurricane?

Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of NOAA)
Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of NOAA)

VIRGINIA BEACH — The Sheriff’s Office answered some frequently asked questions from families of inmates in connection with preparations for Hurricane Florence, or any severe weather event for that matter.

 What happens to the inmates during a hurricane?

“We will shelter in place. The Virginia Beach Correctional Center is one of the safest buildings in the city and is built to withstand hurricane-force winds and rain. The Correctional Center has several generators to supply power and is stocked with a three weeks’ supply of food. We also have additional medical staff, medication and supplies on site. However, inmate programs, such as the Weekender and GED programs, are typically canceled. We have extensive emergency plans that are updated and exercised on a regular basis to be prepared for a storm such as this one.”

Will I still be able to visit my loved one?

“For safety reasons, inmate visitation is often cancelled during severe weather events, especially when residents are being advised to stay off the roads due to flooding or other unsafe conditions. Visitors will be notified if their scheduled visitation appointment is canceled and will have the opportunity to reschedule when visitation resumes. Cancellation notices also will be posted to the VBSO Facebook and Twitter accounts.”

What about phone calls? Why haven’t I heard from my loved one?

“Emergency operations, including during natural disasters, sometimes require that the Correctional Center be placed on lockdown, which limits inmates’ access to telephones. Inmates on disciplinary status also may lose their phone privileges, except to contact their attorneys. Rest assured that your loved one will be OK and phone access will be restored as soon as possible.”

Will inmates still receive their Canteen, CareMart and Fresh Favorites orders?

“Due to staffing levels and the special operational demands that come with natural disasters, deliveries of Canteen, CareMart and Fresh Favorites may be stopped. Deliveries will resume when operations return to normal, including any deliveries that were missed.”

Can inmates still be bonded out?

“Inmates granted bond by a magistrate will still have the opportunity to post bond and be released. However, if courts are closed, no bond hearings will take place.”

Other info

Inmates scheduled to be released during the hurricane are being contacted by the deputies to discuss a safe departure and transportation plan.

“We cannot hold people past their release date, but we will never intentionally put people in harm’s way and will do our best to provide safe options,” according to the sheriff’s office.

You also may call the Correctional Center at 757-385-4555 for information.

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