Community Reacts To New Correctional Center

By: Todd Baucher, Shannon Houser
By: Todd Baucher, Shannon Houser

For someone in the corrections system, this is the one thing that will stand between them and freedom. It's also hoped that, by going through the new Parkersburg Correctional Center, they won't return to a prison system reported to be one of the fastest-growing in the nation.

"Those people who also have the privilege of participating in those programs know that they have a lot to lose if they reoffend," Jeff Kessler, West Virginia Senate President, told a dedication ceremony and open house Monday. "But they, and the state, will have an awful lot to gain if they are successful."

The prison's warden says the location of the existing, and structurally sound building was a plus. He says the system was also able to arrange for inmates to be taken to the jobs they will have, while taking that last step toward release.

"We have worked with the transit authority, so we will have transportation for the inmates to and from their jobs," Patrick Mirandy, Prison Warden, told us. "It's also a benefit, because we have local highway crews, and they can give back to the community by community service out on the highways."

130 people, all of them male, will be housed here. Many will come from the now-13 year old St. Marys Correctional Center, a medium-security prison.

"The faith we have in the folks who work here, and the leadership team, is great," said Blair Couch, President, Wood County Commission. "And I know they're up for the challenge."

The center, which also will house the Parkersburg Parole offices, will provide substance abuse treatment for some of its residents.

The new correction center in Parkersburg will house minimum- security inmates, and while there's mixed opinions from people here in the valley, most people say as long as security can be kept tight, it's a good idea.

Parkersburg resident Michelle says, "I'm not concerned at all. With it being up on the hill at the old Holiday Inn, I think they'll have it under control. "

Many agree that having something take the place of an old vacant building is better than just letting the building sit.

"The place is in need of something, so I would say that's alright, as long as they can keep control," says Janet.

"I think it would be good use for the building, rather than have it sit there and waste away," says Jim.

Inmates will be required to participate in community service work. Many people think putting them to work to help out our area is a great, too.

"I personally think it's a good thing. I think it kinda helps alleviate some other problems. I believe it will work," says Lester Newberry.

And some people are more hesitant to say the prison is a good idea, even though the inmates aren't high risk.

"From what I understand the ones that are going to be housed there are recovering addicts or something of that sort. I don't know if they're from around the area or anything but there could be a possibility something goes wrong when you're working with criminals," says resident Reginald Henry.

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  • by JJ Location: Wood County on Aug 10, 2012 at 04:28 AM
    Linda & Jim: When you live near a real correctional institution (Not a work releae center), that is the safest place to live. I have over 20 years working in corrections, and if someone was to escape, the first thing they do is leave the area, not stick around. Until you see a fence put up, you won't have to worry about hard core inmates. The warden has nothiing to do with the type of inmate that is sent to him. When Pat was at St. Mary's, he wasn't the warden their until Fox retired. If the county would have let the state buy the old jail instead of wanting the state to rent it, then you would have had a release center their instead of the old Holiday Inn. The state is not going to be providing transportation to their work when they get a job.
  • by Linda Location: Parkersburg on Aug 9, 2012 at 06:03 AM
    I feel the Holiday Inn building could have been used for better purpose. It was probably chosen to use as a Correctional center simply due to it's location. Yes it is outside of city limits where I assume this type of program is best placed. My true feeling is, the location was chosen simply because certain people of Parkersburg feel that is already a (run down) area. Who cares if they use the building for that purpose. I do, I live close to that area and have worked very hard to make sure my home and property are well maintained. I felt safe in my neighborhood until I heard this program was being placed in it! I know you say these are not hard criminals but, that will probably change down the road. Mistakes happen and it will happen with this program. I have never felt like I was a victim, but this change in my neighborhood has changed that.
  • by Jim Location: Vienna on Aug 8, 2012 at 02:47 PM
    you will see in furture .just like ST.Marys Correctional when it opened. No hard crimails, I was told wait in year or less and you will see Harden crimals At St. Marys and he was right. Now you have same Warden at Minimum Sec. center the just opened. you Will see all kinds of prisoners there too. Have to put em somewhere as all the do gooders will not use the law to deal with ones convected.
  • by JC Location: here on Aug 8, 2012 at 12:44 PM
    Susan, exactly!!, But the commissioners at that time, didn't want to give up any property to the state to build a regional jail here. That's why it's in the big county of Doddridge. The only inmates that are gonna be in the new prison are the ones ALREADY convicted!!!!
  • by Hank on Aug 8, 2012 at 10:25 AM
    Are these real prisoners they putting out there.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Aug 8, 2012 at 12:31 PM in reply to Hank
      No, they're just actors who play prisoners on tv.
    • reply
      by Duh on Aug 8, 2012 at 01:05 PM in reply to Hank
      No, they probably aren't real... Happy early Halloween!
  • by Dan Location: Belpre on Aug 8, 2012 at 05:23 AM
    I bet they will have a hard time keeping towels!!
  • by Dan Location: Belpre on Aug 8, 2012 at 05:19 AM
    I did not do it your honor!!! But i did stay in a Holiday Inn last night.
  • by curtis Location: williamstown on Aug 7, 2012 at 11:17 AM
    We had a good jail and the greed took over and they shipped them off to the regional now we will have the inmates back in town to do the work the lazy city and county workers will not do. I think mountwood park needs some work again since the workers were taken away the park looks terrible and now the county will have some slave labor to make it look decent again. Well at least the rich people here will get richer by selling property that was run poorly and went bankrupt to stupid government run organizations
  • by Anonymous on Aug 7, 2012 at 09:54 AM
    This town wants every drug offender locked up, except when it's time to pay the bill or deal with the reality.
    • reply
      by curtis on Aug 7, 2012 at 11:17 AM in reply to
  • by Lisa on Aug 7, 2012 at 09:48 AM
    I do now, and always have thought, that these old motel/hotels should be made into places to help the homeless. So I dont agree with the whole jail idea
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