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Most county jail employees opt to transfer to regional jail

by Kelly Rohrbough

STAFF WRITER

CLARKSBURG -- From a staff of 28 at the Harrison County Correctional Center, only four will not be joining the rest as they go on to become employees of the North Central Regional Jail in Doddridge County.

According to Harrison County Sheriff Jim Jack, all the employees at the county jail were offered employment at the regional jail.

The regional jail is expected to open around Aug. 1 and will hold prisoners from Harrison, Marion, Monongalia, Doddridge, Ritchie, Tyler, Pleasants, Wood and Wirt counties.

Chief Jail Administrator Paul Knotts and Secretary Dot Mills will be retiring, said Jack. That leaves a correctional officer and a sergeant who wish not to go due to personal reasons, Jack said.

According to Jack, a grandfather clause enacted in the past states: "Any employee in good standing working as a correctional officer in any county jail coming under any regional jail concept would be grandfathered in as a new employee."

Jack thinks the county jail acted as a family setting for the employees.

"I think with most of the staff it was a big disappointment," said Jack. "They (the county employees) will be thrown into a completely different environment."

The staff at the regional jail is expected to be 150, Jack said.

This includes maintenance workers, doctors, administrators, correctional officers and transportation officers.

Meanwhile, Jack plans to request that the county jail serve as a staging area, but not a temporary facility.

It may act as a place to hold criminals for short periods of time, possibly those waiting trial.

Of the jail transfer, Jack said, "The direct effect to the community is unknown (because) the actual costs born out of this change are unknown."

He added, "It will have both advantages and disadvantages to Harrison County."

Staff writer Kelly Rohrbough can be reached at 626-1403 or by e-mail at krohrbough@exponent-telegram.com.

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