The Virginia Board of Local and Regional Jails voted Wednesday to approve an agreement with the governing body of Riverside Regional Jail that would avert decertification of the facility and allow it to continue operating under certain conditions that so far have been kept secret.
After a closed-door session of about an hour, during which Riverside officials briefly were allowed inside, the jail board unanimously approved the yet-to-be-finalized agreement. The Riverside Regional Jail Authority will vote on the agreement during its regularly scheduled meeting Thursday.
Vernie Francis, the board’s chairperson, declined to release a copy of the agreement after the meeting, saying that until it is signed by both parties, “it’s still in pending litigation at this point.” No lawsuit has been filed.
“The board voted on the agreement subject to technical changes that need to be done,” Francis said. “We can’t release anything until it’s signed.”
“Once this agreement is signed, I think the agreement will speak for itself, and we’re looking forward to working with [Riverside] to make things better,” he added.
Wednesday’s vote means there won’t be a hearing to close Riverside — an action recommended by a jail review committee after an investigation found that jail staff may have been directly or indirectly responsible for three prisoner deaths in 2019 and 2020 and failed to comply within minimum correctional standards set by the state.