You may have been following the news about the state of West Virginia wanting to turn the former Holiday Inn site, near the intersection of I-77 and U.S. Route 50, into a facility to house work release inmates.
The objections of many local people are generally along these lines:
- why bring a criminal element into our community and near to some family homes?
- these people might be given jobs that people in our area, who are not incarcerated, might like to have
- how will such a facility affect property values?
Those people who are more favorably disposed toward the concept say the following:
- it will create as many as 45 local jobs for people to work at the facility
- the people to be housed there are not in custody for violent crimes
- is it not better to find work for these people and let them pay taxes, rather than merely sit in jail, eating up taxpayers' dollars?
Both sides have valid concerns and valid points.
A lot more details have to come out on this project before it can be approved. One thing is for sure: Local people must be given the final say on whether this facility ever opens. It cannot be foisted on the community by the department of corrections.
And second: If it is indeed intended to be for non-violent offenders who are in the final stage of incarceration, it cannot ever be allowed to migrate to housing more dangerous people, unbeknownst to the community and the nearby neighbors. I understand this has happened with other minimum security facilities and it's not fair to the people who green-lighted the project in the first place.
Stay tuned to WTAP and www.wtap.com for more details.