More than 60 deputies, families, fear Petersburg Jail closure - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

More than 60 deputies, families, fear Petersburg Jail closure

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PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) -

In a move that could save Petersburg more than $1 million ayear, the City is weighing a proposal to shut down the Petersburg Jail, adecision that could leave more than half of Petersburg's sheriff's deputieswithout jobs.

The discussion now has Petersburg Sheriff Vanessa Crawfordshielding 61 of her 98 deputies from potential cuts, a prospect that has troubleddozens in her office.

"They're concerned about their families," said Crawford inan interview Thursday. "They're concerned about their livelihoods, as severalof them have been here 28 or 29 years."

The idea would send all of Petersburg's inmates to RiversideRegional Jail in Prince George. All of the City's female inmates are currently housedat Riverside.

According to City Manager William E. Johnson III, Petersburghas taken the initial steps to explore the proposal.

"Petersburg City Council approved discussions and a workshopon transferring all Petersburg Jail inmates to Riverside Regional Jail,"Johnson said Thursday. "While this would mean layoffs in the Sheriff'soffice, we hope to negotiate the hiring of many of those workers by RiversideRegional Jail."

The Petersburg Jail has no air conditioning, and heat isoften a problem in the winter. A replacement building would cost an estimated$22 million, an option not considered viable.

Crawford has served as sheriff for more than eight years,and said Thursday that she would continue to serve if her jail closes.

"I enjoy doing what I do," Crawford said. "I am optimistic."

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