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HCC becomes one of area’s largest employers

November 5, 2010
By Wayne Sheets Contributing Business Writer

Since its creation by an act of the West Virginian Legislature in 1937 to relieve overcrowding in the West Virginia Penitentiary System, Huttonsville Correctional Center has become one of the area's largest employers with a staff of more than 383, including correctional officers, administrative personnel and facility maintenance personnel.

According to Warden Adrian Hoke, the facility now hosts a bed capacity of 1,136 since an expansion was completed in June 2007. Living quarters for the inmates range from dorms consisting of 46 beds in one room to single, double and six man cells with 24/7 supervision in all areas.

The facility was originally a minimum security correctional facility and was upgraded to a high-medium to low-maximum security facility when double fence and triple razor wire were added.

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HCC CONTINUES?TO GROW — Since its creation by an act of the West Virginia Legislature in 1937 to relieve overcrowding in the West Virginia Penitentiary System, Huttonsville Correctional Center has become on of the area’s largest employers with a staff of 383, including correctional officers, administrative personnel and facility maintenance personnel. The facility now hosts a bed capacity of 1,136 since an expansion was completed in June 2007. (The Inter-Mountain/Wayne Sheets)

"Having become one of the largest employers in the area, the correctional center offers many career opportunities with the West Virginia Division of Corrections," Hoke said.

Before becoming a member of the staff, each employee receives extensive training in security, self-defense, CPR and first aid. Each employee is also required to complete a 40-hour training course at the West Virginia Department of Corrections Academy annually as long as they are an employee of the HCC.

According to Business Manager Pam Jones, HCC offers a competitive salary, including a benefits package.

According to Human Resource Manager Debbie Stalnaker, the requirements for employment vary according to the position of interest. Every candidate for employment must have at least a valid driver's license and a high school diploma or GED. All applicants are required to pass an extensive back ground check. Correctional Officer I written tests are given by appointment at HCC and daily at the Work Force West Virginia Office at its new location near the state Department of Motor Vehicle offices on Parsons Road. The written test for clerical, office support personnel and office assistants is given at the Elkins Middle School on the first and third Tuesday of each month. Applicants for other non-uniformed positions are tested on the second, fourth and fifth Tuesday of each month. All tests are given at 4 p.m. Visit the state Department of Personnel website at www.state.wv.us/admin/personnel for additional information, changes in testing times and to apply.

"Many are unaware of the role that the HCC plays in the community," Hoke said. "The facility provides work crews to help the West Virginia Department of Highways, the Mountain State Forest Festival, Board of Education and the Department of Agriculture.

Hoke added staff members work with local law enforcement in support and educational roles and the HCC K-9 unit has assisted with several rescue efforts over the years in addition to providing security for the institution. The facility deploys the Corrections Emergency Response Team and the Crisis Negotiation Team to assist with inside and outside the facility emergencies. The facility maintains its place in the community by participating in many social events including the Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs Expo, speaking at local schools and attending job fairs as a means of providing the community an opportunity to learn about the facility and what it has to offer.

"The HCC is proud of the re-entry roll we take with the inmates at the facility," Hoke said. "There are many educational programs, both vocational and academic, offered to inmates by the state Department of Education."

These classes give inmates the opportunity to engage in rehabilitation efforts during their incarceration. Inmates are able to attend classes in the Adult Basic Education Program to work toward or obtain their GED certificate. Vocational courses offered include auto mechanics, auto body, welding, machine shop, carpentry, masonry, electrical and computer lab. The inmates also have the opportunity to increase their skills outside the classroom through meaningful employment during their incarceration.

The inmates are provided with an open house which allows the inmates to visit with their families in a picnic atmosphere. In addition to the open house, they are provided with a Christmas party and monies for both of these events come from the Inmate Benefit Fund.

According to the warden, a commission on an inmate telephone system and inmate commissary are deposited into the Inmate Benefit Fund. These commissions are also used for recreation equipment, vending machines, toys/games for inmate visitation, educational classes and automated inmate family and victim information notification system.

The Huttonsville Correctional Center strives to abide by its mission statement which states, "We will perform the following entrusted services with the highest degree of professionalism, responsibility and accountability: enhance public safety by providing a safe, secure and humane correctional environment; create an environment in which the opportunity exists to prepare an offender for successful reentry into society, which includes, but is not limited to, an intensive, long term residential treatment program for inmates who have a history of drug/alcohol use and or addiction, be sensitive and respective to victims of crime, empower employees to effectively perform their duties through training, trust and teamwork."

In late September, the Huttonsville Correctional Center began the construction of its $1.5 million on campus work camp. This addition will house 48 inmates and employ more than 20 staff members. The project will also include the expansion of the facility's wastewater treatment plant. The project is expected to be completed in October 2011.

 
 

 

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