Bureau of Corrections Conducts Off-island Correctional Facility Visits

Bureau of Corrections Director Wynnie Testamark defends her agency’s budget at Tuesday’s hearing. (V.I. Legislature Photo)
Bureau of Corrections Director Wynnie Testamark (Photo by Leerdam)

The Virgin Islands Bureau of Corrections recently conducted a routine site visit to check on the quality of housing and treatment of the 48 Virgin Islands inmates housed in four prisons in Virginia. The prisons visited were Keen Mountain Correctional Center, Marion Correctional Treatment Center, Red Onion State Prison and Wallens Ridge State Prison.

Director Wynnie Testamark continues to work collaboratively with mainland correctional facilities to ensure proper, consistent care and rehabilitation of the territory’s off-island inmates. “We do not just send them away and forget about them; they are human beings and must be treated with the utmost respect,” Director Testamark said.

Members of the Bureau of Correction’s medical, mental health, classifications and security staff accompanied Testamark on the trip. During the visit, the team met with key prison officials, reviewed inmate files to determine that they were up to date, and held one-on-one discussions with the inmates. BOC’s objective in conducting face-to-face rather than virtual site visits was to verify, validate and see firsthand that all inmates being housed off-island are treated with dignity and that their human and inmate rights are met.

“BOC is committed to protecting the safety and well-being of everyone in our community, including our inmates and detainees who are currently housed locally or on the mainland,” Testamark said. “Rest assured that our employees, inmates and facilities remain our number one priority.”

At the bureau’s partner facilities on the mainland, Virgin Islands inmates are offered vocational, rehabilitation and reentry opportunities that include employment skills, life skills, religious pursuits and family interaction through videoconference visits. Many of these opportunities were affected, partly due to the national coronavirus pandemic.

The Virgin Islands Bureau of Corrections will be visiting Citrus County Detention Facility in Florida within the next couple of months.