SUSSEX COUNTY, Va. – The Virginia Department of Corrections announced Wednesday that they would be replacing all of the cell doors in both the Sussex I and Sussex II state prisons in Sussex County.
Officials say the doors don’t close properly because inmates jam them. Jamming the doors can also allow inmates to get out without staff approval, which creates safety issues.
An inmate died on Wednesday, Feb. 12 at Sussex II state prison, and authorities say they suspect an inmate-on-inmate cell attack. It’s not clear if the inmate’s death and cell door replacements are connected.
The project will cost around $13.6 million and could take around three years to complete, according to the Virginia Department of Corrections.
Until renovations are complete, the existing cell doors are being secured with keyed locks and additional staff will be assigned to each pod, according to the Virginia Department of Corrections.
Offenders at Sussex I and Sussex II live in two-person cells due to the offenders’ high security levels.
Both prisons are located in Waverly, Va.