MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — For the second time this year the Berkeley County Day Report Center has had to stop taking new clients because of capacity issues.
Director Tim Czaja told WV MetroNews Affiliate WEPM the center stopped accepting referrals from the courts last week due to physical space and staffing.
“We’re currently staffed to provide services to 120 participants, and as of yesterday (Wednesday) morning we were at 141,” he said.
Two trailers funded by the Berkeley County Council are set to open soon, solving the issue of physical overcrowding.
“When they’re ready to be occupied, which I’m hoping is going to be two to three weeks from now, that will allow us to breath a bit as far as space is concerned.”
But, Czaja said, it still doesn’t help with their staffing levels.
“We are in need of additional staff if we are to continue to meet the demand. We really need three additional case managers.”
He said additional support staff will also be required.
Efforts to fund those positions are in the works.
Czaja called investing in the center, an alternative to jail for non-violent drug related offenders, a no brainer when compared to the cost of housing inmates.
“The county pays $48.25 per day at the Eastern Regional Jail,” Czaja said. “The County pays approximately $13 and change per day, per participant, at the Day Report Center. So there’s a significant cost savings.”
Czaja said he plans to appeal to the Berkeley County Council for funding based on potential savings.
New staff members were brought on board back in May of 2017 when the center previously exceeded capacity and stopped accepting new referrals.