Charleston, WV – West Virginia’s state Legislature approved millions of dollars in raises and bonuses for corrections employees Tuesday, the same day as a lawsuit was filed against Republican Gov. Jim Justice and other state leaders over working conditions in the state’s regional jails and prisons.
The Republican-dominated state Legislature approved more than $21 million in pay increases for corrections officers and bonuses for other staff, along with a number of other policies meant to lessen the burden of jail and prison workers. The spending bills were passed during a special session called by Justice earlier in the week.
The special session came a year after Justice declared a state of emergency and called on the state National Guard to help stop steep worker attrition at the state’s jails and prisons, which have a vacancy rate of more than 30%.