State officials are preparing to write new standards for health care and mental health services in local jails.
The move arises from legislation sent to Gov. Ralph Northam this year during an increased focus on jails in Virginia following the 2015 death of Jamycheal Mitchell in the Hampton Roads Regional Jail. Mitchell, 24, had severe mental health problems and was not transferred from the jail to a state hospital as ordered by a judge. The U.S. Department of Justice in December reported that medical and mental health care at the jail was so bad it violated inmates’ rights.
The new standards would require at least one unannounced inspection of every local jail annually.