After a lawsuit criticizing the Salem Industrial Home for Youth last year, the home was ordered closed and its juvenile residents transferred to other facilities throughout the state.
But that wasn’t the end for the Harrison County location. The Division of Corrections has worked over several months to transition the facility and its counselors from one for youth to one that now focuses on the rehabilitation of adult males.
The 388 bed Harrison County location is now the 16 facility under the DOC’s purview, equipped with a dining hall, library, recreation rooms and classrooms like all the others, but also offers additional amenities unique to the center.
In addition to the basic adult education and vocational classes, Salem also offers an onsite WorkForce West Virginia counselor, someone who can guide the inmates to careers on the outside.
Inmates also have access to counselors who deal with local housing authorities to help them find somewhere to live, specialist from the Department of Health and Human Resources and an onsite substance abuse treatment center- things that are unique to this facility, things that will help the inmates transition back to regular life.
“It’s those kind of things that we need to do to assure that these people have a second chance and can go back in and be productive citizens again and that’s basically what this facility here in Salem is designed to do,” Governor Tomblin said after the opening ceremony of the facility Wednesday.
DOC Commissioner Jim Rubenstein said within the next few weeks, all prisoner transfers will be completed filling the Salem beds.