Two years later, WV announces State of Emergency lifted due to staffing problems at state jails

28 May 2024- Gov. Jim Justice, the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and the West Virginia National Guard announced today the State of Emergency put in effect in 2022 to address jail staffing shortages has been lifted.

West Virginia National Guard members who had been alleviating staffing shortages at adult and juvenile correctional and detention facilities have completed their mission and are out of all WV DCR facilities.

“As I have said from the beginning we are going to pull the rope together, do what is necessary to address this situation and today I am here to tell you, we did just that,” Gov. Justice said. “The Legislature, the West Virginia National Guard and the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation have gone all in and made these positions in our jails and prisons an option for a career for people that want to do more, for people that want to keep their communities safe. I could not be more proud of this team.” 

During the State of Emergency, the West Virginia National Guard provided a total of 731 personnel for State Active Duty assignment in 17 different facilities across the Mountain State. The highest number of personnel serving the corrections mission at any one time was 422, including the management team located at Joint Forces Headquarters.

Currently, 38 service members who served during the activation have chosen to pursue a career with DCR, continuing to serve their communities, including 32 full time employees and six serving in a temporary status. New hires at DCR facilities benefit from increased pay scales for correctional officers, and retention incentives for non-uniform correctional staff.

“The West Virginia National Guard proudly supported our state agency partners under the leadership and direction of Governor Justice during this critical time,” Maj. Gen. Bill Crane, the Adjutant General of West Virginia said. “Our Guardsmen volunteered and stepped-up providing assistance to the Department of Corrections and their efforts have been instrumental in helping keep our state’s correctional facilities safe, secure, and working fluidly. I am proud of the work they accomplished as a part of this mission and the dedication they have shown to their fellow West Virginians to assist in times of need.”

The WV DCR has successfully strengthened its recruiting and training initiatives, offering higher pay scales for correctional officers, which has led to a significant reduction in vacant positions throughout the organization. This positive development marks a substantial improvement in staffing and operational efficiency. Since January 2024, the WV DCR has welcomed 238 graduates from the Corrections Academy. An additional 47 new Cadets began their training at the Academy on May 13, 2024. 

“We are grateful for the assistance of the members of the West Virginia National Guard who stepped up to fill these critical vacancies,” said WV DCR Commissioner William Marshall. “We appreciate their dedication to public safety and the State of West Virginia.” 

The WV DCR oversees West Virginia’s 11 prisons, 10 regional jails, 10 juvenile centers, 13 Parole Services Offices, 22 Youth Reporting Centers and three work-release sites.

For more information about employment opportunities with the WV DCR, go to dcr.wv.gov/careers.