The West Virginia Division of Corrections is closing the 34-year-old Huntington Work-Release Center on Thursday, having already transferred its staff and inmates to other facilities.
According to a release from WV Department of Public Safety, the 5th Avenue center in downtown Huntington provided low-risk offenders with the opportunity to hold down jobs in the community as they prepared to re-enter society.
The facility housed 68 men and women.
Corrections officials decided to close the building it occupied since 1983 after an inspection identified several structural and fire code issues.
“Given the findings of the State Fire Marshal’s Office, investing the amount of money needed to bring the building up to standard wasn’t in the best interest of the state or its taxpayers,” said Deputy Corrections Commissioner Paul Simmons.
The facility had 18 staff when the inmates were moved in the late summer. Those wishing to stay with Corrections or other Military Affairs and Public Safety agencies have been reassigned elsewhere.
Acting Corrections Commissioner Mike Coleman told staff earlier this week that their hard work helped “make West Virginia a better and safer place” during the center’s three decades of operation.
“Facility closures are always bittersweet life moments,” Coleman told staff. “Having gone through the shutdown of the West Virginia Penitentiary in 1995, I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you and your staff for the work you have done over the years, and the manner in which you have performed the duty that fell to you in closing this facility. Well done.”