Justice Department investigating treatment of mentally ill prisoners at Hampton Roads Regional Jail

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Hampton Roads Regional Jail in Portsmouth is being investigated for alleged constitutional rights violations, the Department of Justice announced Monday.

The DOJ said the investigation will focus on whether the jail provided adequate medical and mental health care to its prisoners. It is alleged that inmates with mental illness were secluded in isolation for extended periods of time and denied access to services and activities because of their disabilities.

“All prisoners, including those with mental illness, have a constitutional right to receive necessary medical care, treatment and services,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division in a statement.  “The Justice Department will conduct a thorough investigation, led by the facts and the law, to review conditions in the jail.”

Hampton Roads Regional Jail Interim Superintendent Robert J. McCabe said that employees of the jail will cooperate fully with the DOJ as they investigate.

“The Hampton Roads Regional Jail staff has been working tirelessly to improve jail operations and delivery of services. We are confident that DOJ will recognize the positive efforts being made. We look forward to DOJ providing additional expert insight and recommendations during their investigation,” McCabe said in a statement.

The DOJ asks anyone with information to contact them at 844-644-0225 or by email at community.hamptonraods@usdoj.gov.