Sunday, February 5, 2023

VPRJ suspends all ‘volunteer and weekender programming’ due to coronavirus concerns. Here’s what that means

Through a partnership between William & Mary’s School of Education and the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail (pictured here), the students designed and delivered a 10-week counseling curriculum focused on empowering and motivating the women to find a path toward a healthier life. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Erin Zagursky)
(WYDaily/Courtesy of Erin Zagursky)

The Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail will cancel all volunteer and weekender programs starting Friday.

“Volunteer programming refers to those individuals within the community who provide a rehabilitative service to our inmates, such as our GED and our Alcoholics Anonymous volunteers,” Sara Mahayni, executive assistant to the jail’s superintendent, wrote in an email. “Weekend sentencing refers to those individuals who have non-consecutive sentencing ordered by the Court, where they serve their time during the weekends.”

The suspension ends April 3, but tentative and subject to change.

Col. Roy C. Witham, VPRJ superintendent, met with the jail’s physician and nursing staff and gave inmates an update on its plans regarding the coronavirus, according to the jail’s news release.

“We are also working with our suppliers to ensure we have essentials such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizers, soap, and other preventative materials on hand to reduce the risk of anyone contracting this virus,” he said in the news release. “In the event we become aware that an individual at VPRJ has contracted COVID-19, we will immediately provide notice to our local health department, and take steps to isolate that individual from the jail population.”

Witham added the jail’s medical, security and staff teams received coronavirus training webinar from the American Correctional Association and will receive more training as it becomes available.

“This situation is one which is very fluid, with new information on COVID-19 being provided to state and local health officials every day,” Witham noted. “VPRJ is absolutely committed to providing our inmates, their families and loved ones, our staff, and the public with the most up-to-date information we have on this rapidly evolving event, and to take any steps necessary, in consultation with our local health department officials and our medical provider, to ensure the well-being of anyone who may visit our facility.”

The jail is monitoring the coronavirus and following the CDC guidelines. Additional safety measures and updates will be posted on the jail’s main website, its Facebook page and through the media.


Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She covers everything on the Peninsula from local government and law enforcement agencies to family-run businesses and weather updates. Before WYDaily, she covered Hampton and Newport News for WYDaily’s sister publication, HNNDaily before both publications merged in December 2018. Julia was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Long Island, New York in 2001. A true New Yorker, she loves pizza, bagels and good Chinese food. Send comments, tips and other tidbits to You can follow her on Twitter at @jmarsigliano

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