- Associated Press - Monday, June 30, 2014

WELCH, W.Va. (AP) - The Division of Corrections has told the McDowell County Commission to address deficiencies at the Stevens Correctional Center or risk losing its contract to house state inmates at the facility.

Corrections Commissioner Jim Rubenstein sent a letter to the commission regarding the deficiencies earlier this month. The issues include staff members not following Division of Corrections directives, inmates waiting months for X-rays, medical orders not being signed and improper documents being filed in response to inmate grievances, the Bluefield Daily Telegraph (http://bit.ly/1rP4w0W) reported.

“Over the period of time that the county has been operating the facility, there have been many problems with the operations at the facility, the care of inmates and the discipline of staff,” Rubenstein wrote in the letter, according to the newspaper. “WVDOC has been hopeful that those issues would be resolved, but unfortunately, they have not been.”

Rubenstein told the commission that the county owes the state agency $104,272 per day in liquidated damages until the issues have been addressed. The damages will be subtracted from money that the state agency owes the county under the contract.

The division plans to do a full audit of the facility’s operations and will update the list of damages, he said.

If the issues are not resolved, the state agency will exercise its rights under the contract, including cancelling the agreement. But the agency is willing to waive all damages owed and assist in transferring the facility’s ownership and operation to the state, Rubenstein wrote.

McDowell County Commission President Gordon Lambert and officials at the correctional center did not immediately return a telephone message from The Associated Press on Monday.

Meanwhile, McDowell County Clerk Don Hicks has filed a petition in circuit court seeking to restore funding from the county to pay for hiring additional employees to perform work for the facility.

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Information from: Bluefield Daily Telegraph, http://www.bdtonline.com

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