Virginia GA passes bill to empower board to investigate jail deaths

Jamycheal Mitchell

RICHMOND, Va. (AP/WRIC) — The Virginia General Assembly passed a bill Wednesday that would empower the state Board of Corrections to investigate inmate deaths in local and regional jails.

The House unanimously approved the bill with a vote of 99 – 0. It previously passed the Virginia Senate unanimously Feb. 3.

If Gov. Terry McAuliffe signs the bill into law as expected, it would allow the Board of Corrections to ask the Office of the Inspector General to conduct jail death investigations.

Earlier this month, lawmakers refused to reappoint Inspector General June Jennings because they were dissatisfied with her investigation into the 2015 death of 24-year-old Jamycheal Mitchell, who died in a Portsmouth jail cell after losing so much weight that his heart stopped.

The bill calls for $100,000 to be included in the budget to pay for the broadened investigative power by corrections staff members.

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