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State official: West Virginia’s jails, prisons more understaffed than during 2017 crisis

By Lacie Pierson, Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia has more vacant job openings in the regional jail and correctional facility systems than it did in 2017 when Gov. Jim Justice declared a state of emergency over staffing shortages in that system, lawmakers learned last week.

There are more than 800 vacancies in the jails and correctional facilities statewide, Brad Smith, chief of staff for the West Virginia Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation told members of the Joint Oversight Committee for the Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority Dec. 6.

The state made “good progress” on filling vacancies after lawmakers approved pay raises for correctional employees in 2018, Douglas said, but the COVID-19 pandemic reversed that trend.

“We’re having the difficulties we were having years ago in recruiting and maintaining staff,” Douglas said.

In particular, there are “abnormally high” vacancies in facilities in the Eastern Panhandle, Douglas said…

To read more: https://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/state-official-wvs-jails-prisons-more-understaffed-than-during-2017-crisis/article_b3d3517f-fa7e-5ec0-8bea-a55f80232380.html

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