UPDATE: Juveniles at Salem Industrial Home for Youth to be Moved - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

UPDATE: Juveniles at Salem Industrial Home for Youth to be Moved This Week

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SALEM -

Update

Nearly 20 juveniles at the Salem Industrial Home for Youth will be moved by the end of this week to make room for adult inmates who will soon be moving in.

The Division of Corrections said ideally, adults will start moving in by mid October.

The main building will have 260 beds but will need to be assessed before the move in.

An additional building will house 70 inmates but will need infrastructure upgrades before it is ready.


Original story

The West Virginia Industrial Home for Youth was an icon in Salem for years, and provided jobs to the local community.

When word got out that the Industrial Home for Youth would be replaced with a correctional center, heads turned and voices raised.

Neighbors spoke out in fear of living next to an adult facility, and some employees worried about the fate of their jobs.

But West Virginia Division of Corrections Commissioner Jim Rubenstein said that fear thrives in the unknown.

"Until we educate folks and talk to them. To hear corrections, adult inmates, can become very scary until you're able to educate the public about what the facility will be," Rubenstein said.

Employees of the Home for Youth didn't have much to worry about either.  Rubenstein said those employees who wished to stay had the opportunity to do so, and most of them agreed to transfer their employment to the Division of Corrections.

The Industrial Home for Youth officially became the Salem Correctional Center on July 1, but the facility doesn't expect to accept inmates until early August.

Rubenstein said it will accept roughly 215 inmates into the first building on the property. Inmates will be transferred from other facilities in the first phase of the transition, a transition that will be carried out in a staggered manor.

Once it is completely operational, the facility will house more than 400 male inmates.

"This facility will house approximately 415 male offenders of a minimum to low medium security classification," Rubenstein said.

The former residents of the Home for Youth were transferred to other juvenile facilities in the state.  Rubenstein said it was emotional for some of the juveniles who were affected by the change, but added that most of the juveniles accepted the change.  

The Salem Correctional Center is set to open on August 5.  Rubenstein said the facility will provide more than jobs, beds and bars for the inmates and even for the surrounding community.

"RSAT Units, which is Residential Substance Abuse Treatment. Deals with drug-alcohol addictions. Very intense, six months to year," Rubenstein said.

Some of the inmates will be given the opportunity to reach out into the community and get started on a better path.

"Work programs. We will have minimum security inmates who have outside clearance who are able to work on Division of Highways crews," Rubenstein said.

Rubenstein said the inmates will also provide labor for community service projects in Salem and throughout the region.