On Thurs., May 15, Joe DeLong, West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority Executive Director and David Farmer, Southwestern Regional Jail Administrator hosted a local Cost Containment Meeting at the SWRJ in Holden.
The meetings, which have previously been held in the central office, are helpful for officials to discuss how to more efficiently streamline services and save money, among other things.
“Those have been very valuable meetings, but we’ve gotten to the point with them at the high level that we thought it was important that we break those down and start doing them in the communities which we serve.”
The WVRJCFA plans to hold ten of these meetings at different facilities across the state during the next year. One at each jail: Central Regional, Eastern Regional, Northern Regional, North Central Regional, Potomac Highlands Regional, South Central Regional, Southern Regional, Southwestern Regional, Tygart Valley Regional and Western Regional.
Representatives from SWRJ and the communities which the jail serves were invited to attend the meeting.
“It was well attended. We invited sheriffs, prosecuting attorneys, the county commissioners, the circuit judges, the magistrates,circuit clerks, as well as representatives from the supreme court from some other areas to attend.”
Today’s meeting at SWRJ was the first to take place in the local communities. DeLong seems to think that the meeting was a success, with a very nice discussion and networking opportunities.
“We do kind of a round table discussion on a variety of different issues, brainstorm on how to create stronger relationships, and the areas in which we can save money,” says DeLong. “It’s just a productive environment when the people who perform these services and the people who have to receive these services can all get in a room together and talk about any challenges and any opportunities to do things better.”
Many important issues were covered in the meeting, including some high level challenges that face the jail, such as bond payment.
“That’s a big issue for the jails. And when that bond payment/revenue stream comes up short, that money comes from other areas which can affect the county per diem and then actually cost the counties more.”
DeLong says they also talked with some of the local legislators about areas they could help.
“We also got down into some individual issues,” says DeLong. “Things as simple as sending faxes in a timely manner to not hold up court or making sure that all the proper charges and all the information is contained in a file when an inmate shows up for court so a judge doesn’t release an inmate from his court who actually has pending charges from other counties.”
DeLong says that the most interesting thing about the meeting is that, for the most part, everybody seemed to feel that relationships their county had with SWRJ and leadership at the facility was very good. He says that meetings like these create a continuing networking opportunity, and, in some cases, allow people to put a face with a name.
“I really appreciate the local government officials and representatives that came out today and spent the afternoon with us,” says DeLong. “I think that the Administrator, Dave Farmer, and his Lieutenant, Mr. Slater, are doing an outstanding job at that facility. And one reason why they’re able to do an outstanding job is because they’ve had such great community support.”
SWRJ, which started receiving inmates on April 8, 1998, consists of three pods and serves four counties: Boone, Logan, McDowell and Mingo.