No More Hidden Rules: WVCBP Introduces a New Resource for Greater Transparency in the Criminal Legal System

Each year, tens of thousands of people will enter a West Virginia jail or prison. Each day, officials within these facilities make decisions that shape the lives of each person incarcerated. A facility will decide when and how to provide medical care; whether to approve a spouse’s visitation request; if a person will be able to attend a parent’s funeral (albeit, in handcuffs and under guard).

These decisions shape the well-being of people in custody, as well as the vast community of loved ones who also find themselves at the mercy of correctional rules.

And yet these rules have historically been unavailable to the average West Virginian.

Like most government agencies, the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR) has the authority to create their own policies and procedures. This administrative law covers every facet of an agency’s operations.  

But none of DCR’s approximately 200 policies and procedures appear on the DCR website – or any other government website. Instead, a curious citizen would need to make a public records request for a specific policy to DCR’s commissioner and wait five or more business days for a response. Or, if a citizen is lucky enough to be near Charleston, they can ask to view paper copies of the policies and procedures in the Secretary of State’s office.

This is not acceptable for any institution in the digital age – let alone one with so much power over people’s lives.

Therefore, as part of its effort to bring transparency to the criminal system, the WVCBP has published a list of active DCR policies. The list, developed through public records requests, will be updated monthly.

Rules should be accessible to the people to whom they are applied. We hope DCR will choose to make these rules publicly available on their own website.

If you would like to see such a change, or if you have any questions about the policies linked below, DCR Commissioner William Marshall can be reached at

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