W.Va. National Guard, DHS to work in state’s understaffed correctional facilities

Understaffed corrections facilities in West Virginia have received temporary relief as lawmakers consider increasing pay for corrections officers


By CorrectionsOne Staff

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Understaffed corrections facilities in West Virginia have received temporary relief as lawmakers consider increasing pay for corrections officers.

The Metro News reports that more than 120 individuals from the West Virginia National Guard, the state Division of Homeland Security and other agencies will soon start working in the facilities. The individuals will focus on perimeter patrols and other tasks supervisors deem appropriate.

In this Tuesday, July 3, 2012 photo, inmates walk in the yard in front of a cellblock at the maximum-security Mount Olive Correctional Center in Mount Olive, W.Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
In this Tuesday, July 3, 2012 photo, inmates walk in the yard in front of a cellblock at the maximum-security Mount Olive Correctional Center in Mount Olive, W.Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

The help comes after Gov. Jim Justice declared a state of emergency on Dec. 22 due to the staff shortages in the state’s prisons and jails.

Lawmakers are still considering a bill that would raise corrections officer pay. The measure would increase CO pay by $6,000 over three years and would begin in July 2018.

“Even with that pay increase, I think it’s important for the public to know that that will take us from 49th to maybe up to around 40th in the nation in corrections officer pay,” Military Affairs and Public Safety Secretary Jeff Sandy said.

COs in the state start at $24,664 even after a $2,080 pay increase that was passed last year.

“I think you have to credit the men and women that are serving in these positions now,” Division of Corrections Commissioner Betsy Jividen said. “We have to remember these people are putting their lives on the line for the rest of us every day, and they are giving their all to keep us safe.”

The bill is being considered by the Senate Government Organization Committee.

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