MRRJ authority board moves forward with renovations but holds off on expansion

Middle River Regional Jail in Augusta County
Middle River Regional Jail in Augusta County(WVIR)
Published: Jun. 1, 2021 at 9:14 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - With more than 700 current inmates as of June, the Middle River Regional Jail Authority Board voted on Tuesday to begin renovations and update the existing facility.

“I do know our current facility has a little bit of age on it and there are some definite needs there that I think this board is incumbent upon to address,” Timothy Fitzgerald, a member of the board said.

For some time, the facility has remained at more than 200% capacity. The approved $14.5 million renovation plan will include upgrading the water heater, lighting, and improving the lobby, visitation, and mental health office spaces.

“This project is targeted to meet the jail’s most urgent needs and is supported by the community-based correction fund previously approved by this board,” Fitzgerald said.

Before the 2:00 p.m. meeting, members of Virginia Organizing protested and spoke outside the Augusta County Government Center.

Many like Anna Cubbage said they understand a need for a better space to provide the best service to those incarcerated but are worried this could be the beginning of something else.

“If that requires some renovation to the facility we understand that and we support that,” Cubbage said. “But what we don’t support is renovations that will pave the way for an expansion in the future.”

Stephen King, who serves as the chairman of the jail’s authority board, later addressed the crowd before the meeting and said the renovation voted on Tuesday would not include adding more beds to the facility.

“That action will be just to deal with those core facility modifications that are needed in order to keep the facility up to date and to deal with the population we have now in the facility,” King said.

There was a Phase Two action of the plan that was not discussed at the meeting and described future plans if more beds are needed.

Two members of the board abstained from the vote.

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