Over 100 people attended one of two sessions held at the County Administration Building yesterday in support of improving conditions for inmates at the Middle River Jail.
Both the noon and 6:30 times had been planned as a screening of a Channel 29 investigative series about healthcare issues at MRRJ aired in December, but less than 48 hours before the event the station announced it was withdrawing its permission to have the documentary shown. So the planning group changed its focus to one of hosting two listening sessions to compile a list of concerns to present to the Board of Supervisors, the members of the City Council and the Middle River Regional Jail Authority.
Among those in attendance were the mayor, a city council member, a member of the Harrisonburg City School Board, a former judge and two members of the County Board of Supervisors. In addition, a medical doctor with oversight of health services at MRRJ was present, not to officially represent MRRJ, but to personally respond to questions and concerns raised by former inmates, by family members of inmates, and other concerned citizens who were present.
"It was an effort well spent!" commented Diane Orndoff, one of the event's planners. Everyone who participated seemed to agree.