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Jail receives accreditation

The Farmville-based Piedmont Regional Jail (PRJ) was recently awarded an 100 percent accreditation rating by the Virginia Department of Corrections.

The audit process for accreditation occurs every three years and involves inspections of the jail based on 125 standards.

A separate audit, the Life, Health and Safety Inspection, takes place annually during an unannounced visit by a Department of Corrections inspector. 

According to the Department of Corrections, the audit covers all aspects of jail operations, including administrative procedures, financial, security, food, medical and mental health services, emergency and safety procedures and additional operation procedures.

The jail’s Director of Compliance and Accreditation Jim Davis said the facility received its accreditation because of “encouragement of (the) superintendent, professionalism of staff and everybody working together to get it done because one person can’t just do it. It takes everybody.”

Jail Superintendent Donald Hunter said, “The teamwork that has been developed has moved us forward because everyone cares about the facility. “

“I am very pleased and proud of our regional jail staff in achieving this certification,” said Rebecca Carter, county administrator of Buckingham County, which serves as a part of the regional jail along with several other counties. “They have operated on minimal budgets with minimal staff and the counties have seen the need to improve the facility and provide sufficiently for the sufficient operation.”

According to Hunter, the facility is the lowest costing regional jail in the state. It employs 135 people and serves six counties, including Buckingham, Cumberland and Prince Edward.

Prince Edward County Administrator Wade Bartlett said that he is proud of the staff at the jail for achieving such a high score.

“The results are indicative of the attention to detail and professionalism of all who work at the regional jail. When operating any facility, one always strives to do the best possible job.  Achieving a score of 100 percent proves the Piedmont Regional Jail is one of the best jails in the state.”

With the news reporting deficiencies in other jail operations that may have resulted in some inmates deaths, this accreditation ensures the jail is operating as it should,” Carter said.

Bartlett said, “It is our obligation and duty to provide a safe and healthy environment for our inmates. While the inmates have obviously been convicted of a violation of the law, the staff of the jail realizes they are still citizens of our communities. They are fathers, mothers, sons and daughters of our citizens and have the right to be treated fairly and in a safe and healthy manner.”

“I’m really proud of the staff and the way they worked together in order for us to get this 100 percent,” said Hunter.

According to Davis, this is only the second time in the jail’s history that it has received a 100 percent audit score. The jail has received perfect scores on other inspections.

The jail’s next three-year audit will take place in 2019.