ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY, Va. – For several months, the Rockbridge Regional Jail has been held in a negative light, after reports of misconduct from inside the jail.
The interim superintendent of the jail said he wants the facility to now function as a community.
10 News is getting a first look inside the jail since the start of an investigation started by the commonwealth's attorney office. Jail officials said conditions are improving for inmates and staff behind bars.
Derek Almarode was previously a captain and became the interim superintendent in March. He said necessary changes include restructuring the current staff to help inmates in all parts of the jail.
"To saturate our daylight hours where our services are most provided," Almarode said.
Another change includes automated accounting to help inmates to access their money. The system will make it easier for visitors to deposit money for inmates.
"Instead of using paper, it's all computer generated. So we put in an ATM so the families can access the inmates' accounts,"
The jail has a contractual medical agreement to provide a new health care program for inmates.
"Which provides us 24 hours coverage. We have a registered nurse and LPN's (licensed practical nurses) and have around-the-clock coverage here now," Almarode said.
The jail came under investigation in March because of complaints filed by inmates. Almarode said, since then, the employees' morale is increasing.
They were given a pay raise authorized by the state.
"I think the staff has seen the positive change with their pay and also through operations and responsibilities and so forth," Almarode said.
Right now, employees are keeping quiet about the current investigation but they said these changes are necessary for the jail and for taxpayers in the community.
"We instituted a community program for inmate population. So we restructured our trustee program. We put inmates in the community and work crews to benefit the community as well. We are now outreaching in the community, trying to be a community partner," Almarode said.
Some of the rooms in the jail also underwent renovations to better serve inmates and the flow of the jail.