9/24/2013 5:30 PM
by Karen Franklin
PRINCETON - More than a dozen juvenile inmates will be transferred to a new center after a judge decided their current location was not proper.
Sixteen inmates at the Harriet B Jones Treatment Center in Harrison County will be transferred to the Sam Perdue Juvenile Center in Mercer County by the beginning of next week.
Stephanie Bond with the West Virginia Division of Juvenile Services said employees at Sam Perdue were busy last week training for the incoming sex offenders. The decision to move comes after complaints about the facility's location and Circuit Judge Omar Aboulhosn's decision to have it closed for juveniles by the end of September.
The primary focus for the Sam Perdue Juvenile Center will be therapy and treatment of its inmates in hopes of reducing recidivism.
"Our goal is for these residents -- when they return to the community -- to return as productive citizens and to continue with their therapy if that’s needed, but be able to interact in society in appropriate manners," Bond told Newswatch.
Bond said the facility plans to add a vocational center with the help of the department of education.
"These kids eventually are all going to return back into communities, so we need to make sure that they have the best chance to make that as possible," Bond said. "We need to make sure that they receive proper education, and that they have a chance -- if they’re interested in pursuing a vocational trade -- that they have that opportunity as well."
The Industrial Home for Youth, which included the Harriet B Jones Treatment Center, will house adults only after the inmate transfer.