W.Va. jail fully staffed after adding 53 new corrections officers
“This is noteworthy because it previously had a 30 percent vacancy rate in September of 2023,” Gov. Jim Justice said
By Greg Jordan
Bluefield Daily Telegraph, W.Va.
BLUEFIELD, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice said Wednesday that besides graduating more than 50 new corrections officers, the Southern Regional Jail — which serves Mercer County — is now fully staffed.
Justice said during his weekly administrative brief that there was new staffing for West Virginia correctional facilities with the graduation of new officers and staff.
“We’ve just graduated another class of corrections folks,” Justice stated. “This is a massive achievement. Fifty-three new officers that just graduated last week.”
Justice added that the Southern Regional Jail in Raleigh County had achieved “an outstanding milestone with zero staff vacancies now.”
“This is noteworthy because it previously had a 30 percent vacancy rate in September of 2023,” Justice said. “We’re working on it. The Legislature has given us the tool to be able to pay people more and do things, but we’re working on it and working on it diligently every day. But this is good news.”
This development came from successful recruitment efforts and increased pay scales that have significantly reduced staff vacancies across the state, according to the governor’s office. In addition to last week’s graduating class, 483 officers and staff graduated from Classes 63 through 77 during calendar year 2023.
The recruiting efforts, including increased pay scales for correctional officers, are paying dividends, Justice said.
Staff vacancies are decreasing in facilities statewide. Other facilities with zero vacancies include the Anthony Correctional Center, Charleston Correctional Center, Gene Spadaro Juvenile Center, Lakin Correctional Center, Parkersburg Correctional Center and Tiger Morton Juvenile Center.
“I’m thrilled to see the growing interest in correctional careers in West Virginia,” Justice said. “By recognizing the value of these positions and taking action to improve pay and benefits, we’re attracting talented individuals who are dedicated to making a positive impact. This graduation is a testament to the collective efforts by many, and we all remain committed to supporting our correctional officers as they build brighter futures for themselves and our communities.”
The West Virginia Corrections Academy program equips graduates with a comprehensive curriculum, encompassing vital subjects such as Correctional Documentation, the Prison Rape Elimination Act, Emergency Procedures, Interpersonal Communication Skills, Suicide Prevention, Autism Awareness, Trauma-Informed Correctional Care, Scenario-Based Training and various other pertinent classes.
“We are immensely proud of the accomplishments of our Basic Training Class graduates,” said WV Department of Corrections Commissioner William Marshall. “Their dedication and determination are to be commended, and we are confident they will uphold the mission of the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation.”
For more information about employment opportunities with the WV DCR, go to dcr.wv.gov/careers.
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