Black mold causes inmates to relocate

W. Va. — Black mold is prompting the W.Va. Division of Corrections to relocate all inmates and at least some staff from its Anthony Correctional Center to other facilities.

Corrections Commissioner Betsy Jividen began organizing the transfers on Thursday, after receiving initial findings from an ongoing inspection of the Greenbrier County facility. The transfers started Friday.

So far, the inspection has identified mold only in one of the campus’ half-dozen buildings. However, this is the main building and includes administrative offices, the facility kitchen, the gym and some housing units. Given that, and with the inspection still in progress, Jividen concluded that transfers were the best course of action, at least in the short-term.

The minimum-security Anthony Center houses about 200 young-adult offenders, both men and women, serving six-month to two-year sentences. The women are being moved to the Lakin Correctional Center, while the men are going to the Parkersburg and Denmar Correctional Centers.

The latter is about 40 miles away in neighboring Pocahontas County.

The 100 or so staff includes about a dozen Department of Education teachers and other employees. For those staff that must be moved, the goal is to offer options that avoid unnecessarily long commutes.

Corrections is also coordinating with the state Bureau for Public Health, which visited the facility Friday. Corrections will share the detailed findings and written report from the inspection once they are received, which is expected next week at the earliest.

Neither staff nor inmates have exhibited any symptoms of exposure, but monitoring will continue. The Greenbrier County Health Department is also being notified as an additional precaution.

Corrections will continue to satisfy the statutory education and training needs of the youthful offender program through the use of other facilities.

The final inspection report will help Corrections identify the best course for the future of Anthony, which was  built in 1965 as a federal Civilian Job Corps Center. Corrections took over the property in 1970.

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