Prison officials in Virginia on Wednesday completed the transfer of more than 200 inmates from the Lawrenceville Correctional Center to prepare for a multi-year renovation project at the medium-security penitentiary.
The inmates are being transferred to state prisons throughout Virginia. The state Department of Corrections said in a news release that the renovation project is designed to update the facility's housing units by modernizing systems to improve safety and security. The move will allow one building to be empty to begin the renovation work. Once that project is completed, the inmates will be moved to the renovated unit and a similar process of renovation will be done in the next unit.
Lawrenceville is Virginia's only privately-run correctional facility. The prison, which opened in 1998, has been run by The GEO Group Inc. since 2003. It houses nearly 1,500 inmates.
WRIC-TV reports that the prison has faced intense scrutiny over drug overdoses and inmate violence. Criminal justice reform advocates have pushed for years to end the GEO Group’s contract, but the most recent effort was defeated in 2021.