PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Officials at Hampton Roads Regional Jail on Friday named Linda Bryant to the role of assistant superintendent.
Bryant’s primary role will be to oversee compliance, treatment programs, and liaison with state and local mental health agencies.
“I’m here to bring the citizen oversight perspective, almost like a compliance monitor, but before things happen,” Bryant said. “I am here to provide the perspective to see what gaps we can identify, to prevent death or serious bodily injury.”
Prior to taking on this role, Bryant headed the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Division under the Office of the Attorney General in Richmond.
Bryant is a Hampton Roads native who began her law enforcement career in the United States Army as a JAGC officer and also worked as a Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney in Norfolk.
Hampton Roads Regional Jail is under intense scrutiny after the questionable death of at least two inmates. Bryant says she sees the jail’s public perception as a challenge and hopes to turn it around.
“It is a difficult population because of the needs of the population,” Bryant said. “There’s crisis but crisis is where you have tremendous opportunity to grow and become a best practices facility, and that is the goal.”
Lt. Col. Eugene Taylor, former assistant superintendent at Hampton Roads Regional Jail, announced last week that he would be retiring.
This is the third weekly media briefing for the jail since Norfolk Sheriff Bob McCabe took over as interim superintendent last month. In mid-October, officials said the media briefings would be held on a monthly basis from then on.
McCabe also said they are working to transfer state inmates into state facilities. Currently, the jail has 200 inmates that are not where they are supposed to be.
In the past two weeks, the jail has transferred four of them. One of the transferred inmates spent three years at HRRJ.
Officials released video showing the last 14 hours of Jamycheal Mitchell at the first official briefing. Mitchell died of starvation at the jail in 2015.