A proposal to bring Virginia’s only privately operated prison under state management failed in the General Assembly on Friday when it was voted down by members of the Senate’s Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee.
The decision means GEO Group, a publicly-traded corporation based in Florida, will likely continue to oversee the Lawrenceville Correctional Center in Brunswick County, where advocates and some lawmakers worried persistent staffing shortages have jeopardized inmate safety.
“They do not hold up their end of the contract as far as medical, dental,” said Franchesca Hylton, who told lawmakers during a hearing on the legislation that her husband is an inmate at the facility and was not getting the proper care for his heart condition. “There’s a lot of stuff going on at that facility that shouldn’t be.”
The company has been fined at least $700,000 by the Virginia Department of Corrections since 2018 for failing to maintain contractually agreed upon staffing levels, according to department records.
By: Ned Oliver