FLUVANNA COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - The COVID-19 outbreak at the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women (FCCW) is worsening. The case count nearly tripled after the entire facility was tested.
The correctional center now has 113 active inmate cases on its hands with two hospitalizations and nine staff cases. Inmates and their families on the outside are scared and frustrated.
“The Fluvanna population is an especially concentrated risk pool, because the sickest female prisoners in Virginia are housed there,” Legal Aid Justice Attorney Shannon Ellis said.
Faye Wilson is one of the many inmates at risk inside the walls of Fluvanna. “With all these sick people in here, now I’m scared to death I’m going to get sick and I have other medical conditions," she said.
Wilson says staff are being reckless when it comes to the virus. “There are officers come in here and don’t wear their masks like they’re supposed to,” she said. "They don’t want to give us cleaning supplies like they’re supposed to, half the time we don’t even have soap in here to wash our hands.”
Ellis has heard similar stories from clients at FCCW.
“I think one of the most concerning is that staff that were working in the designated positive wing were then seen working in other areas of the prison," she said.
According to another inmate, Minnie Pierce, staff are not the only ones dispersed. “It feels like they are scattering everyone all over the compound. There’s red zones here and red zones there," she said. "They’ve done nothing to contain the virus, they’ve spread it all over the compound.”
Wilson confirms she has seen the same things inside her wing of the prison. “Why would they house people that are sick with people that are not sick?" she asked.
Concerned calls are also coming from across the country. Janet Jensen lives in California and has a pen pal at Fluvanna who doesn’t think she will make it out alive.
“She’s terrified, that last handwritten letter was hard to read," Jensen said. "She’s thinking she’s not going to make it out of there and she would’ve never imagined that this is how it would end for her.”
Ellis is frustrated, saying the blame should fall on the shoulders of higher-ups who failed to take early action to get non-violent offenders out of the prison to avoid a spread this extreme.
“The time was wasted by DOC, the time was wasted by the governor, and that is a tragedy that can’t be undone now,” she said.
We reached out to the Virginia Department of Corrections, sharing this information with them and asking for comment. We have not heard back.