By Josephine E. Moore, The Register-Herald
BECKLEY, W.Va. — West Virginia legislators say a recent federal civil action lawsuit regarding the conditions and treatment of inmates at a jail in Raleigh County is shining a light on the state’s aging correctional facilities, which are also facing critical staffing shortages.
Legislators are also calling into question a recent investigation conducted internally by the state into some of the conditions alleged in the lawsuit at the Southern Regional Jail in Raleigh County. The report, released in late April, stated that allegations that inmates were deprived of clean water and food, clothing, mattresses and medical care were false.
Senate Minority Leader Stephen Baldwin, D-Greenbrier, said he is anxious to get to the truth of the matter given the alarming allegations made in the lawsuit, which include everything from the beating of inmates by correctional officers to broken toilets infested with maggots.
“It makes me absolutely want to know what the truth is,” Baldwin said. “You hear one thing, like I’ve heard some of this from constituents that is not too far off from what the lawsuit alleges. The state says something different. It seems correctional officers are saying something different as well more towards what the inmates were saying.” …