Blog Posts > WV’s Jails Have Been More Than 1,300 People Over Capacity Since Dec. 1, and More Than 800 Inmates Contracted COVID During That Time
January 5, 2021

WV’s Jails Have Been More Than 1,300 People Over Capacity Since Dec. 1, and More Than 800 Inmates Contracted COVID During That Time

Charleston Gazette-Mail, Huntington Herald-Dispatch, Governing – Since Dec. 1, there have been COVID-19 outbreaks in five of West Virginia’s regional jails and at least four correctional centers. Read the full article.

During that time, at least 833 inmates in the 10 regional jails throughout West Virginia tested positive for the virus, and three outbreaks in three separate jails exceeded 190 cases — two outbreaks exceeded 250 cases.

During the whole month of December, and so far in January, the regional jails have operated at no fewer than 1,300 inmates above their listed capacity, despite efforts earlier this year to lower inmate populations because of the pandemic, as well as a new bail reform law for magistrates that went into effect this summer.

“Every jail outbreak is a time bomb,” said Quenton King, criminal justice policy analyst for the West Virginia Center on Budget & Policy. “We keep getting lucky. I say ‘lucky,’ and that’s with five inmates and one staff death. It could be a lot more. The odds just aren’t in our favor.”

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