W.Va. enhancing Justice Reinvestment with Charleston Correctional Center; facility also new HQ of Parole Board
Contact: Lawrence Messina
April 30, 2015
W.Va. enhancing Justice
Reinvestment with Charleston Correctional Center; facility also new HQ of
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Offenders
seeking to return to productive, law-abiding and drug-free lives have a new
home with the debut of the Charleston Correctional Center.
The extensively renovated, 40,000
square-foot facility on the capital city’s East End held its ceremonial opening
on Thursday, April 30. It features 96 beds for work-release participants, in
male and female dorms, and a separate 32-bed Residential Substance Abuse
Treatment (RSAT) unit for female offenders. The West Virginia Parole Board is moving to
the Hansford Street building as well.
“The Charleston Correctional
Center promises to further the goals of Justice Reinvestment by helping inmates
recover from substance abuse and successfully rejoin society,” said Gov. Earl
Ray Tomblin, referring to the landmark reforms he has championed.
For decades, low-risk and
non-violent offenders have been housed at the nearby Charleston Work-Release
Center on Brooks Street while holding a variety of jobs throughout the area.
The Charleston Correctional Center will replace that aging facility, with
around 60 current work-release participants relocating to the new building
starting next month.
The RSAT unit will provide
intensive treatment in a highly structured environment for female Division of
Corrections inmates identified as candidates by the scientifically validated
assessment tool adopted through Justice Reinvestment. Gov. Tomblin signed that
historic, bipartisan legislation into law in 2013 to improve public safety and
reduce crime through a research- and data-driven focus on effective, practical
programs and policies.
“This modern, secure facility will
provide needed services and opportunities and demonstrates our serious
commitment to targeting recidivism and protecting the people of West Virginia,”
said Secretary Joseph Thornton of the Department of Military Affairs and Public
Safety, or DMAPS, which includes both the Division of Corrections and the
The approach of the Charleston
Correctional Center also embraces the findings and recommendations of the
Governor’s Advisory Council on Substance Abuse. Aided by regional task forces,
this initiative of Gov. Tomblin’s has played a key role in addressing the
scourge of drugs in the Mountain State.
“This facility offers
opportunities for the DOC’s lowest-custody offenders as they transition back
into society,” said state Corrections Commissioner Jim Rubenstein. “Effective
programming and treatment is invaluable as we work to successfully reintegrate
offenders back into society, with the main objective being they don’t reoffend
and come back to prison.”
The Hansford Street property will
also be the new home for the Parole Board. This state agency will have its own
entrance, a hearing room equipped for videoconferencing and separate waiting
rooms for the families of inmates and crime victims. The Parole Board currently
occupies a much smaller space in a leased building it shares with DOC’s central
office, and should complete its move by this summer.
“We look forward to the
transition, which will give us additional space and permit us to enhance our
Parole Board operations,” said Parole Board Chairperson Benita Murphy.
The Charleston Correctional
Center also reflects an ongoing partnership with Charleston’s East End. DOC
officials have sought to resolve issues raised by residents, including by
minimizing contact with work-release participants through a required travel
“The community was a little
concerned when we started talking about this,” said Jeff Stinnett,
administrator of both the new facility and the one it’s replacing. “We’ve been
working with the community since that day. We’ve had continual meetings. We’ve
kept in touch with them and they’ve been very helpful.”
Charleston Work-Release and its
inmates are also directly assisting the community, adopting a nearby stretch of
Piedmont Road for trash pick-ups and aiding the upkeep of a local city
“As always, the DOC promises to
be a good neighbor and we value the relationships we have formed within the
community,” said Rubenstein, who is also a deputy secretary of DMAPS. “We look
forward to being an active and integral part of the East End.”
The DOC purchased the 2.5 acre
Hansford Street property, which also features a fenced recreation yard, for $1.1
million in late 2011. Renovations to the building, a former warehouse and
office space, and property cost around $8.2 million.
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