NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Officials say they are once again dealing with air conditioning issues at the Norfolk City Jail.
The Norfolk Sheriff’s Office says that over the past few days, the main air conditioning system that works to cool the old tower of the jail, which was built in 1962, broke. City maintenance staff hasn’t been able to fix it.
The issue affects about 200 inmates on the fifth and sixth floors.
The city chose an outside vendor Wednesday to come in to make repairs. Repairs are expected to take about a month from start to finish.
In a news release sent Wednesday, Kaila DeRienzo of the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office said in part:
…The jail is a very old building with a history of temperature control issues dating back to when Sheriff Bob McCabe was first elected into office 23 years ago. This summer during a lengthy inspection of the jail, it was noted that the air handlers, duct work, and ventilation system in the building need cleaning, and the windows on one side of the building need to be replaced. The city has been made aware of the needed work on multiple occasions.”
The sheriff’s office says they will do everything they can to keep staff and inmates as comfortable as possible while the air conditioning is being fixed.
In July, the jail also experienced air conditioning issues. Though the system was working, DeRienzo said it was not “producing to the full effect that it should be to maintain a healthy environment.”
Inmates were issued shorts and tee-shirts to wear — a first in city jail history. They will continue to wear them. Deputies are being allowed to wear short-sleeved uniforms.
DeRienzo said jail staff is required to keep a daily log of temperature readings throughout the day, which are then reported to senior staff members. Medical staff is also consistently checking on jail blocks that are hotter than others to make sure inmates are safe and healthy.