Senator Says Prison Correction Fixes Could Come During Legislative Session

MT. OLIVE, W.Va. — Coming up with a solution to the shortage of prison correction officers could be a key issue during the next legislative session according to Senator Greg Boso (R-Nicholas, 11).

“When we look at, overall, the number of vacancies that we have at all the various facilities and the cost to train these individuals to get them prepared to take on the roles at these institutions, we’ve got to change our concept and our mindset just a little bit,” he said on the MetroNews-affiliated “The Mike Queen Show” on the AJR News Network.

West Virginia Corrections Commissioner Jim Rubenstein estimated that more than 300 positions out of nearly 2400 positions are vacant. That number equates to more than 12.5% of all positions. Around two out of every three new hires leave after their first year.

“When we train 46, and we lose 40 we’re not doing something right,” Boso said.

At the very top of the prison correction system in West Virginia, leaders are concerned about their staffs becoming completely burned out.

“When people work the kind of hours that these gentlemen are working or these ladies are working in their various locations–and they’re working 14 to 16 hour days and they are doing that day in and day out–they’re not sharp,” Boso said.

Senator Boso, among others, is concerned that the conditions are a threat to the safety of the staff at these correctional facilities and to the safety of the general public.

“When you’re working in an institution that is incarcerating individuals who many times have violent crimes that they’ve committed to others, those [correction officers] need to be crisp and sharp and ready to react in the event a situation occurs there,” he said.