CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Contact visits will be a thing of the past at West Virginia’s 10 regional jails beginning July 1.

Regional Jail Authority Director Joe DeLong told MetroNews Wednesday a temporary ban put into place earlier this year will be permanent in a few weeks. He said the privilege was being abused by inmates who used it to smuggle drugs into the jails.

“We had inmates who would come in with their loved ones and be able to give an embrace, a hug, and press the Suboxone strip up against the clothing and with the naked eye you couldn’t see it but the inmate knew where it was and would go back and remove the Suboxone strip,” DeLong said.

There were other instances of drugs being passed in a kiss and some being placed in babies’ diapers.

“There are very few jails across the country that allow contact visitation or who have ever had it,” DeLong said. “It’s a privilege not a right.”

The Regional Authority will offer expanded non-contact visitation time to take the place of visitation time. DeLong said there’s also a plan to allow video visitation from home.

“If they have a computer at home with a webcam they will actually be able to go on and sign-up and actually not have to come to the jail,” DeLong said.

The contact visitation areas in the 10 regional jails will be converted into space for new pre-parole programs set to be offered state inmates being housed in regional jails.

DeLong said in the end it makes since to eliminate the contact visitation in the interest of rehabilitation and safety.

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  • Jima

    That's because State Law prohibited the generic pill form of Suboxone up until a couple of weeks ago- try doing this with the pill form!!

  • Suzy Q

    Its a good idea, never should of had contact visitation in the first place!

  • Pete

    Who was the rocket scientist that allowed contact visitation in the first place?

  • Gary Karstens

    Why penalize all for the actions of a few??? YEESH!

    How about some more progressive disciplinary steps for these inmates....some of which are innocent until found guilty??? YEESH!

    • Suzy Q

      It only takes 1 to ruin it for all, people should follow rules.. How bout people just not make stupid decisions and stay outta jail??? YEESH!

    • Brian

      Like ban guns from every American just because of the actions of a few? Figure out your principles GK flip flopping is a politician's trait.

  • melvin

    makes "since"

    does anyone edit these articles?

  • Tyrone

    The interest of rehabilitation ? Have never heard of that in any West Virginia jails.

    • Suzy Q

      might be a waste of a taxpayers dollar. forcing rehab on someone who doesn't want to get help wont work!

  • DWL

    Now it all comes down to the CO's to smuggle the contraband into the facilities and organize the attempted inmate murders. Now that pressure.

    • KB

      Lol, murders in the regional jails aren't too common.

  • steve

    Great idea-now start concentrating where 90% of the contrband comes in-Staff. Get on board DOC-ban the contact visit