CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail (ACRJ) says that extraordinary circumstances are leading to exceptional measures being taken to get central Virginia’s incarcerated population through the pandemic.
The jail has developed a three-phase plan, with phase one currently underway. As part of this initial phase, the jail is temporarily halting all outside visitation, including attorneys, for the secure facility.
“We won’t have visitation," ACRJ Superintendent Col. Martin Kumer said. "We’re working with our communication vendors for our phone calls and our inmate messaging system to see if we can reduce the cost of both.”
Phase two would begin if multiple cases are reported in the Charlottesville area. Non-essential jail staff would be asked to stay home. The jail would also be working with Charlottesville City and Albemarle County law enforcement to try to reduce the jail’s population, through a combination of early releases, bond releases, and transferring some inmates to home electronic monitoring.
“Maybe 10 to 15% of population, but if we reduced it by that much, it’d be significantly more manageable," Col. Kumer explained.
Phase three would take steps even further and would go into effect if prisoners begin showing symptoms. The symptomatic prisoners would be quarantined in an already-prepared portion of the jail.
“We don’t have the intention of sending anyone who has the virus out to the local hospital," Kumer explained. "Our goal is to contain them here.”
As testing is still not being conducted locally and is both time-consuming and difficult to qualify for, Kumer says the plan is not to test inmates who begin showing symptoms. Inmates who fit the criteria will be quarantined until the virus runs its course and given treatment to manage their symptoms.