By Associated Press - Thursday, March 11, 2021

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (AP) - A jail in Virginia’s Hampton Roads region has lost accreditation from a national group over “continuous deaths” at the facility and a U.S. Department of Justice consent decree.

The Virginian-Pilot reported Wednesday that the American Correctional Facility decided earlier this month to revoke its accreditation for the Hampton Roads Regional Jail.

Voluntary accreditation from private organizations is common for jails. And while it’s not required, many tout it as proof they’ve met a set of independent national standards.

The jail in Portsmouth is under federal oversight following a 2018 report that found conditions there had violated the Constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The jail has been ordered to make changes. Those include reducing its use of solitary confinement for inmates with serious mental illness.

Col. Jeff Vergakis, the interim superintendent of the jail, told the newspaper that the ACA’s decision on accreditation was unfortunate. But he said that the Department of Justice’s consent decree and correctional standards “provide a pathway to make Hampton Roads Regional Jail a role model facility.”

He added that the jail will continue to abide by ACA standards.

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