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Probes Show Lack of Leadership in Jails

One internal investigation is complete, another still on-going at the Western Regional Jail inCabellCounty.

Joe DeLong, executive director of the Regional Jail Authority, updated a Legislative committee on Monday where the investigations into the two separate incidents involving 15 corrections officers stand.

Both incidents, which were reported in October, involved use of force. DeLong says the first internal investigation is over.

“We have concluded our internal investigation on one of those and we’ve taken, what I believe to be is, appropriate disciplinary action against six correctional officers and one correctional officer resigned,” explained DeLong.

As for the second investigation, DeLong says 8 corrections officers remain on administrative leave pending the outcome. But both incidents remain under separate criminal investigations by the West Virginia State Police.

DeLong says one of the things the internal investigations have brought to light is the lack of leadership among the corrections officers at the Western Regional Jail.

“It doesn’t matter how good we are at the top and it doesn’t matter how good we are at the training center at the academy for our new cadets, if we fail in the middle, then we’ll fail at all levels. So much of the jail is dependent on that,” says DeLong.

Currently the lieutenant, corporal and sergeant at the jail work day shift.

“What we found at the Western Regional Jail, in particular, is the majority of our challenges exist on the evening shift, a time when your top brass is typically not in the facility.”

DeLong says all across the regional jail system, they’re having trouble hiring those mid-level leaders because they’re only paid $1,000 extra but end up with a lot more responsibility. No one is applying for those jobs.

The regional jail chief says that’s something they’re now looking at closely.

“We’re determining what we need to do and how we need to do a better job in terms of making sure that we have the appropriate monitoring direction and appropriate leadership and appropriate training in the facility for the people who work in the hours that are not the typical 8am to 5pm administrative hours,” says DeLong.

Currently the regional jail system is short 194 full-time corrections officers. Those hours are being made up through mandatory and volunteer overtime.


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