West Virginia to investigate northern regional jail after incident | News, Sports, Jobs
MOUNDSVILLE – The West Virginia Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is conducting a thorough investigation into overcrowding issues at the North Moundsville Regional Jail, Governor Jim Justice said.
The investigation comes after a violent incident at the prison last week in which three inmates were injured.
“I am aware of the situation there”, Justice said Tuesday morning. “I am aware of the overcrowded situation and our correctional services are conducting a thorough investigation into what happened” Justice said Tuesday morning. “As soon as they can complete this investigation, they will report it to me and we will report it to everyone.”
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Three NRJ inmates were involved in an altercation on June 3 where a brawl broke out with makeshift weapons, according to Lawrence Messina, director of communications and public relations for the state of West Virginia. None of the detainees required outside medical attention and no prison staff were injured.
Moundsville Police had responded to help in the fight, but MPD leader Tom Mitchell said he was not asked to assist.
Messina said that while overcrowding of detainees within the NRJ has remained high, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, population levels have improved in recent weeks. As of June 4, Messina said, 411 inmates were accommodated in the penitentiary, 43% of whom are defendants, subject to being put on bail or not by decision of the magistrate or circuit judges.
According to a table provided by the state, the North Regional Prison housed around 470 inmates at the end of March and 460 on May 17.
Staffing at the facility, he said, was also an issue, but he hoped it was also on track to be lightened with things like salary increases and defined career paths. for employees.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Messina said, limitations on the transfer of detainees due to security protocols exacerbated the already existing problem.
“Prison population levels remain a challenge throughout the regional prison system”, he said. “Although this was a problem before COVID-19, the precautions and safeguards established in response to the outbreak significantly restricted transfers between facilities and otherwise heightened this challenge. “
“Among the remaining inmates, ongoing vaccinations are expected to facilitate the transfer of state-sentenced inmates, while movement between institutions remains strictly limited due to COVID-19. As online reports show, 165 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine had been administered to Northern as of (May 21) ”, he added.