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Portsmouth jail to remain open, judge rules

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Posted at 1:45 PM, Mar 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-13 13:45:38-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - A judge ruled Friday that the Portsmouth City Jail will remain open, overriding the city council's earlier decision to close the jail.

The council voted March 9 to pass a resolution to close the jail on or before August 15, 2020. The resolution narrowly passed with a vote of 4-3.

In July 2019, city staffers placed condemned signs on the building, citing unsafe conditions. Sheriff Michael Moore then sued Portsmouth, later testifying in court that the jail was safe for inmates and staff.

After a court hearing, the judge ultimately denied the move to condemn the jail, ordering the city to properly upkeep the facility.

According to the city, at the conclusion of two civil actions, Portsmouth Circuit Court ruled, "The condemnation of the Civic Center Jail is denied. The City is ordered to maintain the Portsmouth City Jail in a manner that is secure and adequate for housing inmates so long as the facility is used as a jail by the City."

The next court hearing on the jail's future in Portsmouth will be held June 16.

This is a developing story.