brunswick county privately run prison is failed business transaction according to sheriff

Brunswick County: Privately-run prison is ‘failed business transaction,’ according to sheriff

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The Virginia Department of Corrections contracts with GEO Group to run the Lawrenceville Correctional Center, which houses around 1,250 state prison inmates.

Lawrenceville is the only privately-run state prison in Virginia. A 2020 study found that the arrangement with GEO Group, in place since 2003, saved the Commonwealth $9.3 million in fiscal year 2020.

The local sheriff, Brian Roberts, who started working in the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office 25 years ago, told a Richmond TV station that the arrangement between the state and GEO Group is a “failed business transaction right now.”

Roberts told CBS6 the prison has obvious staffing issues that have led to a massive increase in calls for service to the Brunswick County EOC since 2018.

And as Alberta Volunteer Fire Department Chief Ted Smith told CBS6, answering those calls puts a burden on local emergency responders.

“When the call volume goes up, we are taken away from our community,” Smith said. “We have had calls that we have had citizens heart attacks, diabetic emergencies that (were) in our first due area, but we (were) in our second due area trying to cover a mass incident for GEO.”

Sheriff Roberts said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Bob Mosier met with him and executives from GEO last month to discuss the problems.

The solution, to Roberts: “Most perfect world, they would turn it back into a state-run facility,” the sheriff said.

“Second most perfect world, the state holds GEO accountable, or they figure out their contract to do better, whether that is an accountability do better, or change companies do better, I don’t know what that is,” Roberts said.

Chris Graham

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