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Fourth prisoner dies at Buckingham Correctional Center

A fourth inmate at the Buckingham Correctional Center (BKCC) in Buckingham County has died due to complications with COVID-19. Meanwhile, two U.S. senators are urging U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to stop the transfer of detainees from center to center after a large outbreak at the Farmville ICA detention facility.

BKCC’s fourth inmate death occurred over the weekend. Of the 11 Virginia prisoners who have died from the virus as of Monday, June 29, six of those deaths stemmed from prisons in Buckingham County, including two deaths at the Dillwyn Correctional Center (DCC).

More coronavirus-related deaths have happened at BKCC than any other prison in the state.

The news of the inmate’s passing comes at a time in which it would seem the prisons in Buckingham are finally seeing their large coronavirus outbreaks come to a close. Last week, DCC saw its number of active virus cases in its offender population finally reach zero after 347 total offenders tested positive during the outbreak.

According to the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) website on Monday, the facility was still listed as having no active inmate cases and no inmates in hospitals. The facility still had two positive staff members.

BKCC was listed Monday as also having no positive offenders on-site, although one offender was still being hospitalized due to complications with the virus. The prison as of Monday had six active staff cases of the coronavirus.

Although the numbers look promising in Buckingham, the Farmville ICA detention facility is having to address an outbreak of its own. Monday the ICE COVID-19 resources site listed the center as having 49 active cases of the virus and 50 cases total.

Friday, June 26, U.S. senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine called for ICE to stop the transfer of detainees among different facilities in order to reduce the spread of the virus, citing the Farmville outbreak.

“In early June, ICE transferred over 70 detainees from Arizona and Florida to the Immigration Centers of America Farmville (Farmville ICA) detention facility. While Farmville ICA appears to have followed appropriate quarantine measures, it seems the decision to transfer detainees between facilities has instead resulted in over 50 positive COVID-19 cases at Farmville ICA,” the senators wrote.

“Additionally, at least two staff members at Farmville ICA have tested positive for COVID-19. The situation in Virginia highlights the inherent danger of such interstate transfers at this time. We believe further transfers between local, state and federal jails and detention centers would risk accelerating COVID-19 cases in facilities nationwide, along with putting surrounding communities at heightened risk, and must be ceased at this time.”

Last Friday, June 26, a federal judge in California ordered ICE to release all children held in custody for more than 20 days from ICE facilities by July 17 due to dangers from the spread of COVID-19 in ICE facilities.