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WV lawmakers to discuss serious corrections understaffing on Sunday

By Roger Adkins [email protected]

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The critical shortage of correctional officers in West Virginia has put the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation high on the agenda for interim legislative committee meetings starting this weekend at the Capitol in Charleston.

During a 3 p.m. meeting on Sunday, the leaders of the division are set to address the Legislative Oversight Committee on the Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority.

Executive Officer Brad Douglas and Commissioner William Marshall will discuss current employee recruitment, retention and vacancy rates. They also will provide information on the status of the juvenile population in the Bureau of Juvenile Services.

During committee meetings before the recent legislative regular session, Marshall and Douglas described the state’s worst correctional officer shortage in 30 years, with more than 1,000 unfilled positions and vacancy rates as high as 70% in some facilities.

“If we don’t have enough volunteers, they end up being ‘voluntold,’ and that makes for a cranky and disgruntled employee,” Marshall said during one meeting.

Gov. Jim Justice declared a state of emergency within the jail and prison system last year and activated the West Virginia Army National Guard to fill out rosters, a measure that remains in place. …

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