This week, West Virginia’s Adjudicated Juvenile Rehabilitation Review Commission approved a report citing numerous concerns about Division of Juvenile Service programs at the Industrial Home for Youth in Salem, W. Va., and the Kenneth “Honey” Rubenstein Juvenile Center in Davis, W.Va.
Established in 2011, the Commission completed a full report on conditions at the two facilities last December. Initial Commission findings included cold cells, limited showering opportunities and “questionable quality and quantity of food.” Additionally, the Commission reported that residents had limited academic services, virtually no behavioral management unit services and no gender-specific programming in place for female detainees.
The Commission was originally established to investigate the death of a resident at the Industrial Home for Youth in 2009. While an official cause of death was never determined by the Commission, investigators said that “it can be safely concluded that procedures were not followed” at the facility.
“This report now gives the commission a framework to continue its mission to encourage systemic changes,” said West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Margaret Workman. “It is the Court’s desire that West Virginia serve these youths and their families within a sound framework of public safety while providing guidance, structure, and appropriate, evidence-based services.”
In response to concerns at the Industrial Home for Youth, The Charleston Daily Mail reportsthat the office of Gov. Earl Tomblin, in conjunction with the Division of Juvenile Services, have proposed closing the facility and re-opening it as an adult prison; a white paper released earlier this month by Marshall University’s Center for Business and Economic Research states that the idea “deserves consideration” as an alternative to constructing new facilities.