The Richmond City Jail has no air conditioning, is incredibly overcrowded, and sees at least one death via heat stroke every year. Guards forget or refuse to furnish inmates with sufficient water or means of obtaining water (because of the faucets on some tiers, a paper cup is required, and it’s common for the supply to run out). I’ve heard reports that guards require inmates to continue wearing their coverall uniforms, even after higher-ups have given permission for their removal.
In March of this year, I observed the processing of thirty one women’s rights protesters. The arrests were extremely high profile, a crowd gathered outside lockup in support almost immediately, and those detained were able to occasionally shout their conditions to the assembled supporters. Even in these cases- with ample observers and news outlets present during the processing and aware of the situation- those detained were kept on hot buses (80+ degrees) and denied water for six to nine hours.
Even in the relatively mild heat, even after a short detention, many of the arrestees were dehydrated when they were released.
This is how the city treats those it arrestswhen people are literally standing not a hundred feet away, watching. When there are news crews and a city councilmember right there.This is how the city treats people in relatively minimal, bearable heat.
This is shaping up to be the hottest summer in Virginia history, and jail officials show no signs of changing their practices and remedying these inhumane conditions.