Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Hampton Roads Regional Jail accused of failing to assist with death probe

 An area jail that came under state scrutiny after the 2015 death of a mentally ill man is now being accused of failing to cooperate with an investigation into three other inmate deaths.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the state Board of Corrections sent a sternly worded letter to the superintendent of Hampton Roads Regional Jail last month, saying the jail’s response to request for investigative records of the inmate deaths “is wholly inadequate” and does not comply with board regulations.

The jail, which houses inmates for Norfolk, Portsmouth, Hampton, Newport News and Chesapeake, was heavily criticized after the death of Jamycheal Mitchell, who wasted away in a cell after a series of failures stopped him from being transferred to a state mental hospital.

The Board of Corrections is currently investigating three deaths at the jail in 2018 and 2019.

“This committee will not tolerate attempts to undermine the board’s authority,” William Dean, chairman of the board’s jail review committee, wrote in the letter to jail Superintendent David Hackworth.

Robert Geis, chairman of the Hampton Roads Regional Jail Authority, told the Times-Dispatch that the jail “is committed to complying with all appropriate, legally based requirements from the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

The jail review committee says jail officials are refusing to provide the panel’s investigator, Stephen Goff, with complete internal reports relating to several inmate death investigations.

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