August 9, 2022

8 confirmed overdoses occurred in 24 hours at Lawrenceville Correctional Center – possibly 11 total.

Key Points:

VA-DOC confirmed 8 cases of incarcerated individuals having overdosed on drugs over the course of Thursday night.

Advocates and family members concerned about ongoing pattern of torture and death at Virginia’s only for-profit prison, call for investigation.       

Nation’s largest private, for-profit prison contractor, The GEO Group, manages LCC for DOC.

Has demonstrated a pattern of human rights violations and a complete failure of duty.

Contract with GEO Group set to expire soon.

VICPP urges DOC to take responsibility and transfer management to DOC.


BRUNSWICK COUNTY, Va – On Friday, August 5, the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy (VICPP) was informed that eight individuals incarcerated at Lawrenceville Correctional Center (LCC) suffered from drug overdose in one evening. It was further alleged that two of those incidents resulted in deaths. In an email exchange with VICPP Criminal Justice Reform Organizer King Salim Khalfani, the Virginia Department of Corrections (VA-DOC) confirmed that the eight overdoses had occurred, but claimed there were no fatalities, and that “the GEO Group is handling it.”

Shortly thereafter, three more alleged drug overdoses at LCC were reported to VICPP. VICPP reached back out to VA-DOC for comment, but at the time of this publishing, no one from VA-DOC had responded.


LCC is Virginia’s only private, for-profit state prison. It holds people for VA-DOC, and since 2018, has been operating under a contract with the nation’s largest private prison contractor, Florida-based, The GEO Group, Inc. Their LCC contract expires on July 31, 2023.

In “GEO’s Global Human Rights Policy” statement available on their website, the following is stated:

“We are serious about our responsibilities to inmates and detainees. We strive to uphold the health, welfare and basic rights of these individuals by working to ensure their safety, security and well-being while under our protection and care.” 

Under The GEO Group’s management of LCC, there has been a documented pattern of drug overdoses and deaths at LCC that have been confirmed by VA-DOC. There have been ongoing reports from the family members of incarcerated individuals of inadequate food, contaminated water, maltreatment, and human rights violations occurring within LCC’s walls under The GEO Group’s management.

Whether it was eight confirmed or eleven alleged drug overdoses that occurred within a 24-hour period this past weekend at LCC, all signs point to a complete failure of duty, as well as the committing of numerous acts of human rights violations.

VICPP urges VA-DOC to use its oversight authority and insist that these violations be corrected.

VICPP calls upon Sheriff Bob Mosier, Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security, to investigate the circumstances surrounding these incidents, injuries, and deaths.

VICPP believes that VA-DOC should take over management of LCC when the GEO group contract expires next summer, a process that takes time to set up and thus requires action now.

VICPP urges VA-DOC to make plans to cancel its contract with this private, for-profit prison group and take responsibility for its core functions of protecting all people in its care, and respecting the human rights of all individuals within its facilities.

VICPP will be providing a fuller report detailing the extent of the mismanagement and violations committed by The GEO Group, Inc. The report is due to be released at the end of August, 2022.

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Lawrenceville Correctional Center webpage

“GEO’s Global Human Rights Policy” statements and trainings

The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy advocates social, racial, and economic justice in Virginia’s policies and practices through education, prayer, and action. VICPP is a non-partisan coalition of 750 faith communities working for a more just society.


King Salim Khalfani
Criminal Justice Reform Organizer
Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy

Ayesha Taylor
Director of Communications
Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy