CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A month into the existence of the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the Division of Administrative Services, Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety Secretary Jeff Sandy said the reorganization has gone well.
House Bill 4338 went into effect at the start of July, which replaced the Division of Corrections, Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority, the Division of Juvenile Services and several other agencies with the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The Division of Administrative Services handles payroll and human resources issues.
Sandy said the previous divisions had multiple people doing the same job. He added the process is now streamlined, saving time and funding.
“The three correctional agencies spent $47 million on mental, dental and medical bills,” he said. “By combining those, if we can reduce the costs to the state by 8 percent. It’ll be in the millions.”
Sandy said authorities in Pleasants County and Smithers have complimented the move, which has resulted in shorter prisoner transfers, thus saving local law enforcement agencies money.
One move regarding efficiency is in Wood County; Sandy said the state will take control over the holding center, hiring eight Wood County employees.
“Having that holding center in Wood County, for Wood and Wirt counties, it will save them hundreds of thousands of dollars in not only salaries but also gasoline and vehicles,” he said. “We’re trying to be smarter and being good stewards of the state’s money.”
House Bill 4338 gives a one-year period to finish consolidation and three years to bring in other agencies.
Last week, Gov. Jim Justice appointed a new interim director for the Division of Justice and Community Services, Joe Thornton. Thornton previously served as DMAPS secretary between 2010 and 2016. He has since worked as director fo Correctional Operations.