RICHMOND — The Virginia Department of Corrections is replacing all cell doors at Sussex I and Sussex II state prisons. Existing doors are not closing properly due to inmates jamming them.
This construction project will start in approximately 60 days and is estimated to take three years at a cost of $13.6 million. The existing cell doors are being secured with keyed locks.
While offenders at many VADOC facilities live in dorms, offenders at Sussex I and Sussex II live in cells due to the offenders’ high security levels. Most cells house two offenders.
This plan was developed in response to offenders at Sussex I and Sussex II jamming cell doors, which results in the offenders being able to get out of their cells without staff approval. This is an unsafe situation for staff and other offenders.
There will be additional staff assigned to each pod while the keyed locks are in place in case of an emergency in which the cell doors need to be opened quickly for inmate evacuation. The VADOC is working with the fire marshal's office.
Cell doors at Sussex I and Sussex II can currently be opened and closed from each pod’s control booth. However, the cell doors at Sussex I and Sussex II were designed differently than those at other VADOC facilities and inmates are able to jam the doors to prevent them from closing completely.
Sussex I and Sussex II state prisons are located in Waverly, Virginia.
More information on the VADOC can be found at www.vadoc.virginia.gov.