EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSSalem Prison Holds Grand Opening Ceremony
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Bob Aaron
Videographer: Bob Aaron
Web Producer: Bethany Simmons
Also Contributing: Bethany Simmons
Reported: Dec. 4, 2013 12:05 PM EST
Updated: Dec. 4, 2013 9:02 PM EST
Salem , West Virginia
A newly opened prison in Salem will be both the first and last stop for many inmates in the prison system. The governor and corrections commissioner are optimistic its program may ease overcrowding problems that could force the construction of still another $200 million prison.
The Salem Correctional Center held its grand opening Wednesday. The men's prison was a juvenile facility. Despite the ceremonies, it is already three-quarters full. The state began transferring inmates to the minimum-to-medium-security prison in October. The prison will screen most regional jail inmates before they move to a prison. It will house substance abuse treatment and training prisoners need before parole and a move back into society.
The state will also open bids Thursday for housing some prisoners out of state as a possible alternative to building an expensive prison to ease overcrowding.
The former West Virginia Industrial Home for Youth was converted to a prison this year following a lawsuit over treatment of juvenile offenders at the facility. Thomas Mallo, who killed a woman at 14 in Charleston, was one of those who got questionable treatment. The staff was fearful of what lay ahead, but many made the shift from juvenile to adult offenders and jobs stayed in Harrison County.
The staff is about 200, including about 140 uniformed officers.
State officials are holding a grand opening for a men's prison in Salem that formerly was a juvenile facility.
The ceremony is set for 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Salem Correctional Center.
The state began transferring inmates to the minimum- to medium-security prison in October. Division of Corrections Commissioner Jim Rubenstein tells The Exponent Telegram that he expects the 388-bed prison to be at full capacity within the next couple of weeks.
The former West Virginia Industrial Home for Youth was converted to a prison this year following a lawsuit over treatment of juvenile offenders at the facility.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is scheduled to attend the grand opening. Spokeswoman Amy Shuler Goodwin says Tomblin will speak about positive changes within the Division of Corrections.
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