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Overcrowding a Real Issue at Regional Jail

News this past week that there’s a serious overcrowding issue with inmates at the Northern Regional Jail in Moundsville comes as no surprise to many in the local region. Just what Gov. Jim Justice and state corrections leaders plan to do about it remains to be seen.

Justice announced last week that, following three inmates being injured in a violent attack earlier this month, the state would be looking into the overcrowding issue at the jail.

“I’m aware of the situation there,” Justice said. “I’m aware of the overpopulation situation and our corrections folks are doing a full investigation into what happened. As soon as they can conclude that investigation, they’ll report it to me and we’ll report it to everyone.

The incident that prompted the investigation took place June 3, when three inmates with makeshift weapons fought. Corrections staff broke up the fight. The inmates were treated on-scene.

The Northern Regional Jail on that day housed 411 inmates, according to state officials. Maximum capacity at the facility is 330 inmates, according to the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

This is not a new problem; the jail has faced overcrowding issues for years. But until now, no one has done more than provide lip-service to dealing with the issue.

That needs to change now, Gov. Justice.

Packing nearly 30% more offenders into the regional jail than it’s built to hold is bound to lead to altercations such as this. State officials need a plan that, once and for all, will deal with the NRJ’s overcrowding issue.

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