RSW Jail: Open for Operation

WARREN COUNTY, Va. - From the outside, one might not guess that the new beautiful building along Winchester Road three miles north of Interstate-66 is a jail.

"Most of the time people will say, ‘Is that a shopping center they're building, or is that a school?’," said Doug Stanley, administrator of Warren County.

"When you drive by, it doesn't look like a jail. It looks like an old colonial building with the round columns and precast arches. I think the architects did a fantastic job," said Mike Stanger, the project superintendent with Howard Shockey & Sons.

Almost ten years and $70 million later, the Rappahannock Shenandoah Warren Regional Jail is finally open.

RSW officially opened on June 23, 2014 and currently 330 inmates are occupying the facility.

"The majority of those inmates came from the local jails and they were being transported in. The move was completed in about four days, which was ahead of schedule," said Acting Superintendent Russ Gilkison.

However, five days after the jail opened the superintendent for the last 13 months, Robert Mulligan, decided to unexpectedly retire.

"Robbie came to us after leaving Loudoun County,” said Stanley. “He was close to retirement and we kind of coerced him into taking the job,” he said, with a laugh. “[Robbie] brought a lot of experience to RSW with opening new jail facilities and that's exactly what he did."

Meanwhile, Gilkison, who is the deputy superintendent of the jail, has stepped in to fill Mulligan’s shoes. 

Gilkison has the jail operating on a modified schedule, while employees and inmates gather their bearings.

"There's been restricted use of the phones, and visitation hasn't been implemented yet. [We’ve had] more lockdown period for the inmates until we get the staff adjusted to operating in this new environment," he said.

By the end of July RSW hopes to be 100 percent fully operational. It will include implementing visitation and establishing their work release and work force inmate programs.

“Anytime you open up a facility of this size, it's a big undertaking. It's a transition that can really last up through the first year. You go into this, and you got plans, and you think things are going to work,” said Gilkison. “You're always modifying and tweaking."

RSW says they plan on implementing visitation, which will mostly be done via video conferencing, by this weekend.

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