The Northern Neck Regional Jail, where Paul Manafort will spend at least the next three months while awaiting trial, has the outward appearance of being a small local jail holding street thugs and assorted misdemeanants.
But it also houses federal prisoners awaiting trial — including a member of the Taliban and a feared Colombian drug lord. It held NFL star Michael Vick and musician Chris Brown, too.
The jail is notable for another reason — four inmates have died there since 2011. In one of those deaths, a 32-year-old female inmate who suffered a stroke in 2016 was denied medical care for more than 10 hours and was declared brain dead later that night. The woman’s family sued six jail officials for wrongful death, also alleging that the jail tried to cover up its actions. In November, the defendants paid the woman’s two juvenile daughters a $375,000 settlement, court records show.
Manafort, 69, has been indicted on charges in what prosecutors say was a broad conspiracy to launder more than $30 million over a decade of undisclosed lobbying for a pro-Russian former politician and party in Ukraine.
He was taken into custody Friday after U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson revoked his pretrial release conditions pending trial because he allegedly contacted witnesses in the case. But rather than place him in the District or Alexandria jails, where local federal prisoners are often housed, Manafort was driven 90 miles southeast to the Northern Neck jail in Warsaw, Va., not far from the banks of the Rappahannock River.
Jail records show Manafort was booked into the “VIP” section of the jail at 8:22 p.m. Friday. The Northern Neck jail roster indicates more than 600 inmates are currently in custody. Inmates are permitted one personal visit per week. Manafort, a former campaign chairman for President Trump, was assigned Fridays from 2:15 to 3:15 p.m. as his visitation window. Visitors may only speak to inmates through a glass partition, called “noncontact” visits, for a maximum of 30 minutes.
Inmates at Northern Neck, as at most jails, cannot receive calls, but they can make collect or prepaid calls between 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 p.m., according to jail rules. Unless the calls are to an attorney, they are recorded. Attorneys may visit with clients remotely by video visitation on their computers or smartphones, the jail’s website says.
In Virginia, regional jails are built when counties pool their funds to build a facility rather than each county trying to fund and maintain its own jail. The counties form a board to supervise the jail, and they hire the jail superintendent.
In the 1990s, Richmond and Westmoreland counties, and the town of Warsaw, pooled their resources and built a regional jail that opened in 1995 with a capacity of 198. It has since been expanded two more times; two more counties, Northumberland and Gloucester, have joined as members.
In 2007, after Vick, the former quarterback, pleaded guilty to federal charges related to dog fighting, he surrendered to Northern Neck to begin serving his time even before he had been sentenced. He was there about six weeks. Brown, the singer and songwriter, spent about three weeks in the Northern Neck jail after being extradited from Los Angeles to await trial on a misdemeanor assault charge in the District in 2014.
More notorious inmates also have been housed in Northern Neck by the U.S. Marshals Service. Irek Hamidullin, a member of the Taliban-linked Haqqani network, led a 2009 attack on Afghan police and U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, and was later captured and transported to the United States for trial. He was held in Northern Neck until his conviction and life sentence in 2015.
In 2008, American forces captured Hernan Giraldo Serna, designated a foreign narcotics kingpin, in Colombia, where he allegedly shipped thousands of kilos of cocaine into America and oversaw a violent criminal enterprise in northern Colombia. While being held in Northern Neck, jail superintendent Ted Hull told the New York Times, other Colombians in the jail would rise when he entered the room, sharpen his pencils and fetch his papers.
Four deaths have been reported in Northern Neck in recent years, including those of a woman who killed herself in July 2012, a man in 2015 whose cause of death was not immediately available, and an inmate who died in January of this year of apparent pneumonia.
But the lawsuit by the family of Jaimee Kirkwood Reese raised the most concern. She was a recovering opioid addict who had undergone open heart surgery to replace an aortic valve in September 2015 and leg artery surgery in November 2015 before being jailed for drug convictions in February 2016. She was taking various blood-related medications to assist in her recovery, but her lawyers said it did not appear she received any of those in the Northern Neck jail before suffering a stroke on March 4, 2016.
Reese was found unconscious shortly before 7 a.m., according to a lawsuit filed by her family in federal court, but did not receive any care until after 5 p.m. Jail officials then drove Reese to a hospital rather than call for an ambulance, and she did not arrive for another 75 minutes, according to the suit, although the distance from the jail to the hospital was less than nine miles.
She was transferred to a hospital in Newport News later that night and placed on a ventilator. She died the next day. In settling the suit, the jail officials did not admit any responsibility for her death.