Division of Corrections

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

In an effort to address overcrowding in regional jails, the West Virginia House of Delegates has passed a bill to release pretrial inmates that have been charged with certain misdemeanor crimes, on their own recognizance. The bill now goes to the state Senate for consideration, where previous bills with a similar mission have failed. 

West Virginia State Car
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Two more state agencies in West Virginia say they are reducing their fleets of vehicles to save money.

The Division of Highways says it will auction off 122 vehicles in May and October and optimize use of those remaining.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Offenders looking for treatment and rehabilitation within their communities now have a new home in a Charleston facility that celebrated its opening today. 

Dozens of Division of Corrections employees joined with state and local officials to celebrate the opening of the Charleston Correctional Center on the city’s East End Thursday.


West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Senate Finance Committee continued budget hearings Thursday with state Division of Corrections. Since the passage of the governor’s Justice Reinvestment Act in 2013, the Commissioner of Corrections told lawmakers overcrowding is becoming less and less of an issue, but the division is still asking for a budget increase.

Commissioner Jim Rubenstein presented the governor’s proposed budget for his division for the upcoming fiscal year. In it, the governor is suggesting a budget increase of about $1.8 million from general revenue funds.

Prison Bars
Schavda / wikimedia Commons

  A new report says correctional officers employed by the Division of Corrections have the lowest entry-level salaries in the nation.

The report released Monday by the Legislative Auditor's Office says the entry-level salary for correctional officers is $22,141 annually. Illinois has the highest entry-level salary, $45,103.

Correctional officers earn about $16,400 less than their counterparts at the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

The report also says the turnover rate among correctional officers was 37 percent in fiscal 2014. But low pay likely wasn't the only factor.

West Virginia’s Fire Marshal announced Monday he’s stepping down from his post after more than 22 years in the Fire Marshal’s office.

State Fire Marshal Anthony Carrico will be leaving his current job to take over as a corrections program manager in the state Division of Corrections.

Division of Corrections

The Division of Corrections has told the McDowell County Commission to address deficiencies at the Stevens Correctional Center or risk losing its contract to house state inmates at the facility.

The Bluefield Daily Telegraph reports that Corrections Commissioner Jim Rubenstein sent a letter to the commission regarding the deficiencies earlier this month. The issues include staff members not following Division of Corrections directives.

Rubenstein's letter says the county owes the division liquidated damages under the contract.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A legislative interim committee overseeing the state’s jails and prisons was updated on a bill passed this year intended to help reduce the state’s incarcerated population. Those attending an event at the Culture Center in Charleston Monday learned more about how the Export-Import Bank might help their small businesses succeed. Pollution can be catastrophic to water supplies but one Concord University art professor recycles the pollutant hails for his pottery.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Over the past two years, lawmakers have implemented two pieces of legislation intended to drastically decrease the population in state prisons in the face of a growing overcrowding problem.

In 2013, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 371, the Justice Reinvestment Act. Among a long list of provisions, the bill allowed the Division of Corrections to develop and implement a cognitive behavioral restructuring program for DOC inmates being housed at regional jails due to overcrowding in the state prisons.

Council of State Governments

It’s only been a little over a year since Governor Tomblin signed the Justice Reinvestment Act into law, but the state is already seeing results in the amount of people being held in state jails and prisons.

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An inmate who escaped from the Beckley Correctional Center is back behind bars.
 
The Division of Corrections tells media outlets that 31-year-old Thomas C. Means is facing a felony escape charge.
 

The Senate tackles issues related to corrections as well as roads. The  House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee takes a look at bills related to timber theft and fertilizers. Department of Agriculture Commissioner Walt Helmick talks about farming issues around the state and Cecelia Mason highlights the work of the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind. Also, the students of those schools give a performance for Senate members to close out our show.

Janet Kunicki / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Division of Corrections was honored in the Senate Friday with a resolution declaring February 14, 2014, Corrections day at the legislature.

Commissioner Jim Rubenstein was joined by his Cabinet Secretary Joe Thornton and other members of the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety to receive the honor.

“On this day, it is important for this Legislature to remember that the starting annual salary for an entry level correctional professional in West Virginian is $22,584,” said Sen. Bill Laird.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Governor's proposed budget includes an increase in funds for the Division of Corrections, "Felicity's Law" passes the House and would provide a cause of legal action for those who are viciously attacked by a dog, Heads Up Huntington helps the public to be aware of emergencies in that city, and Asleep at the Wheel performs "Hesitation Blues" on this Mountain Stage song of the week.

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The House of Delegates passes a bill known as "Felicity's Law", which would allow for the euthanization of an animal that causes harm to a person. Senator Herb Snyder introduces a bill meant to repeal a section of code giving discounts to gasoline wholesalers and the Senate Finance Committee hears a budget presentation from the Division of Corrections. Also, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant talks about the looming deadline for the candidate filing period for the 2014 election, as well as the bill which would provide emergency funding to small businesses in the event of a disaster.

Janet Kunicki

During the Division of Corrections budget hearing, Commissioner Jim Rubenstein said the governor’s proposed budget for the division includes additional funding for provisions of Senate Bill 371, the governor’s prison reform bill. It includes increases for the transition of the Salem Industrial Home for Youth to the Salem Correctional Center.

Division of Corrections

A private prison company in Kentucky said Monday it can house West Virginia inmates for less than the state Division of Corrections.

Kentucky’s Corrections Corporation of America said in a bid opened by the state Purchasing Division it can house up to 400 West Virginia prisoners in its Beattyville facility for $59.80 per day.

It costs the DOC around $65 per day to house prisoners at an in state facility according to division Commissioner Jim Rubenstein.

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With the opening of an envelope and the reading of a few numbers, the state Purchasing Office completed a bid opening Thursday for the Division of Corrections.

The request for proposals, known as an RFP in government jargon, asked national companies or state corrections departments to bid on sending West Virginia inmates to their out-of-state facilities in the hopes of curbing the state over crowding problem.

Ashton Marra

After a lawsuit criticizing the Salem Industrial Home for Youth last year, the home was ordered closed and its juvenile residents transferred to other facilities throughout the state.

But that wasn’t the end for the Harrison County location. The Division of Corrections has worked over several months to transition the facility and its counselors from one for youth to one that now focuses on the rehabilitation of adult males.

Ashton Marra

A law signed by Governor Tomblin in April is already having its intended effect of decreasing the state’s prison population. Legislators meeting this week in Charleston got an update on how Senate Bill 371, the governor’s prison reform bill, is doing.

State lawmakers are presented with projections all the time. The projected annual revenue, for example, is constantly talked about within the corridors of the Capitol because in recent years, those projections have shown major declines in funds.

Ashton Marra

A hearing in Kanawha County Circuit Court will determine whether or not juvenile residents of state facilities will see a difference in the way grievances are handled and an increase in educational opportunities.

Mercer County Judge Omar Aboulhosn will be presented a proposed agreement between the Division of Juvenile Services and Mountain State Justice, a Charleston based public interest law firm whose lawsuit against the division resulted in the closure of the Salem Industrial Home for Youth and later the Harriet B. Jones Treatment Center.