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 Inmates returned to W.Va. regional jail after repairs

1/23/2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

From the Office of the Secretary
West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety
Joe Thornton, Cabinet Secretary

Contact: Lawrence Messina
(304) 558-2930
Lawrence.C.Messina@wv.gov

Jan. 23, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va – The Potomac Highlands Regional Jail resumed normal operations early Friday, following heating system repairs that prompted the temporary transfer of its inmates, officials with the West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority said.

Around 200 inmates had been relocated to other regional jails on Tuesday to allow for the completion of the repairs, which involved the flushing of liquid propane from system lines.

Regional jail staff methodically processed and then transferred the inmates during both phases of this operation without incident. The inmates were back in their cells at the Augusta, Hampshire County facility by 5:45 a.m. Friday. The Division of Corrections had also assisted with transporting inmates from the jail ahead of the needed repairs.

“From the administrators at the jails affected, to our correctional officers and staff, all the way down to the maintenance workers, those folks worked through the night to make this a seamless process,” said authority Executive Director Joe DeLong. “I could not be more proud of the work that they performed, and the professionalism they showed is remarkable.”

DeLong also praised the regional jails’ special operations team, which helped to oversee the transports. He noted that those involved were able to complete the return of the inmates to Potomac Highlands hours ahead of winter weather conditions forecasted for that area.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s Justice Reinvestment Initiative played a role as well. That comprehensive reform effort and related steps have reduced the inmate backlog at the jails, freeing up bunks for the temporary housing of the affected inmates.

Potomac Highlands is one of 10 jails in the West Virginia’s 10-facility regional jail system. Both that agency and the Division of Corrections are part of the W.Va. Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.

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