A 42-year-old inmate at Riverside Regional Jail went into medical distress and died early Wednesday, jail officials said, the first prisoner death at the facility in more than a year.
The inmate, William A. Brown, experienced a medical emergency at 12:54 a.m. while being examined by medical personnel and eventually died after efforts to revive him failed, Capt. Laura Gray said in a release.
She said jail staff members initiated medical emergency procedures and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the inmate until Prince George County paramedics arrived and continued the effort to save him.
Brown’s cause of death is unknown but Gray said it appears he died of natural causes. An autopsy will be performed by the state medical examiner’s office.
Brown was booked into the jail on June 4 and was being held on a felony charge of causing a malicious injury by a caustic substance.
The death was the first at the facility since April 14, 2018, when 27-year-old Joseph McAlpine killed himself in his cell. It was the longest stretch the jail had experienced without a death in recent years.
Only one inmate died last year. The greatest number of deaths occurred in 2017, when five inmates died, including two who died by suicide and whose deaths were investigated by a state jail review committee. A total of 16 inmates have died at the facility since 2013.
Riverside has come under increased scrutiny during the past year over allegations of poor treatment of inmates and prisoner deaths.
Last week, the facility was placed under closer state supervision — and forced to receive two unannounced audits every six months — by the Virginia Department of Corrections.
The board placed the facility on “probationary certification” for three years after the board’s jail review committee found shortcomings at the facility that may have directly or indirectly contributed to the deaths of the two inmates who killed themselves. The committee also concluded there was evidence that the jail was not complying with some of the board’s regulations.
In addition to the unannounced inspections, the jail must submit quarterly reports to the board on its compliance with state regulations.
Earlier this year, the jail’s leadership endured withering criticism from two Chesterfield County judges for alleged mistreatment of inmates.
The jail’s governing body in April hired a new superintendent, Carmen I. DeSadier of Flossmoor, Ill., who formerly served as chief of corrections in New Orleans with the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office, where she managed the daily operations of the parish jail.
Riverside serves Chesterfield, Charles City, Prince George and Surry counties and the cities of Hopewell, Colonial Heights and Petersburg. It is located in Prince George.