Mercer County judge to revisit problems at youth prison - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Mercer County judge to revisit problems at youth prison


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- The Division of Juvenile Services is hoping for specifics from a judge who condemned the state's only high-security correctional center for young offenders.

Circuit Judge Omar Aboulhosn blasted conditions at the Industrial Home for Youth at Salem, declaring them too prison-like for many occupants.

He ordered lawmakers and state officials to at least renovate the building or remove its juveniles. If they don't, he may intervene.

But juvenile services Director Dale Humphreys says he doesn't have enough information to comply with the order. He will seek details Friday.

The judge concluded Salem's Building A follows an outdated training or reform-school approach to rehabilitating juveniles.

He cited expert testimony in ruling that model is not only the most expensive, but also considered particularly harmful to offenders who are 14 and younger.

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