CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A pilot project aimed at curbing costs in the state’s regional jail system has paid fast dividends to the agency.

Regional Jail Authority Director Joe DeLong told state lawmakers this week fourteen new corrections officers were added at the South Central Regional Jail in Charleston in June. The officers were hired, trained, and added to a new schedule outlined in a study of the system by WVU. The savings were immediate by hiring the new workers and reducing overtime for current employees.

“In one month by adding 14 correctional officers, after paying for their salary and benefits, South Central Regional Jail saved 18,000 dollars in personnel costs,” DeLong said.

DeLong pushed for the pilot program after reviewing the study data from WVU. The idea added more corrections officers to save money. It’s a concept which is a tough sell at a time when most agencies are freezing hiring and leaving positions unfilled. Regional Jails have suffered from high turnover of corrections officers. A lot of it blamed on excessive overtime.

“Spread across the course of a year that would be about 200-thousand dollars on that facility,” DeLong told members of the legislative interim committee “We expect anywhere from about 1-point-5 to 2 million dollar annual reduction in our personnel cost when this is fully implemented across the state.”

DeLong added they also tried the pilot for a brief period of time at the Southern Regional Jail in Raleigh County.  The program came at a time when the facility was fully staffed and DeLong said when the staff was full there were also substantial savings.

 

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Comments

  • Bill Adkins

    Here is the truth. There is 1 Sgt. south central that make anyway from 70-80 grand a year. He makes that much because of the overtime. He is close to retirement. They don't want to pay him and others like him all of thy money in Overtime. They could care less about the officers on the floor very day. They have asked officers what they want and how to fix the problem and officers tell them. Officers what to rotate weekends off and they want to rotate evening and day shift too. That's how you prevent burn out.

  • STEVE DAVIS

    It's simple math. Should have nothing to do with politics. As a fiscal conservative, I don't buy into the "throw money at the problem" approach but if the numbers really(and I'm always skeptical of such claims) do indicate that hiring 14 officers at standard pay is cheaper than paying 28 officers 20 hours of overtime every week, the only question I have is... why wasn't this done earlier? It doesn't sound like rocket science to me.

  • COIi

    Now get these new officers outfitted in 5 sets of uniforms for $2,000. Then spend $6,000 to send them to the Academy. Replace the ones who quit/get fired in the first year. Then replace the ones who quit after 2 years to get a better paying job. Spend a lot of money on a job with constant turnover.

  • GregG

    Spending money to save money...........Funny how that works, now convince the republican party of that!

  • Gary Karstens

    Great example of government spending money, more people get hired, and in the end, money is saved. A great example of progressive economics.