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Charleston Correctional Center ready to open

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Corrections officials and other dignitaries were on hand to open and dedicate the new Charleston Correctional Center Thursday. The facility replaces the facility which has served as the system’s work release center since 1982.

“We’re expanding our Charleston work release center beds, we’re adding a female residential substance abuse treatment unit,” said West Virginia Corrections Commissioner Jim Rubenstein. “We’ll almost double our population.”

The old facility located several blocks away on Brooks Street had become old and overcrowded.  The commissioner said the new facility gives them a facility to operate effectively.

“We’re in a building that meets our needs,” said Rubenstein. “The building is not dictating how we operate and we were able to design it to meet our needs.”

The new facility will be 40,000 square feet on the East End of Charleston.  The  renovated warehouse will include 96 beds for work-release inmates in separate male and female dorms.  There will also be a separate 32-bed Residential Substance Abuse Treatment unit for female offenders.  Inmates will start relocating to the new facility next month.

Additionally, the new quarters will become the new home of the West Virginia Parole Board.  The Parole Board operates out of a much smaller leased space in a building it shares with the Division of Corrections central office. The move should be completed by this summer.

“It goes a long way with Governor Tomblin’s justice reinvestment in preparing individuals to re-enter society successfully,” said the Commissioner. “It also addresses those addiction concerns that not only plague the Division of Corrections, but the state as a whole.”

When the old warehouse was first announced as the home of the new Correctional Center, nearby neighbors were worried about security.  Mayor Danny Jones believes those fears have been allayed and it has helped with revitalization of the East End.

“It doesn’t do anybody any good to have an empty warehouse here that was run down,” said Jones. “I think Commissioner Rubenstein had a meeting, talked to them, and he did a very good job.”

“I’ve actually had a few citizens who live close by have come over and said they were concerned at first,” said Kanawha County Sheriff Johnny Rutherford. “But they’ve done a good job addressing those concerns and they seem to be very comfortable with it now.”

The total cost of the property and renovations was $8.2 million.

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