CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — The state of West Virginia is facing a massive lawsuit over conditions at its jails and prisons, and some believe it could cost hundreds of millions of dollars to fix.
Complaints about prison and jail conditions have risen sharply in the past couple of months.
Beckley attorney Steve New filed the lawsuit. It states that more than 10,000 inmates are being exposed to inhumane conditions because of staffing shortages and lack of maintenance at correctional facilities.
The suit says the state needs to spend $60 million on salary improvements, and $270 million on repairing dilapidated jails and prisons. Just this week, the legislature approved $30 million to boost pay and fill vacant positions and set aside $100 million for maintenance. People on both sides of the aisle say more will get done.
“It can’t be absolutely dead-level perfect. You know, but with all that being said, we want things to be good. Don’t get me wrong in any way,” said Gov. Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia.
“Well we need to have a complete, true and honest review and see what’s really going on,” said State Sen. Mike Caputo, (D) Marion.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of one West Virginia prison inmate and one jail inmate, as well as for a teen in juvenile detention. The attorney is asking a federal judge to make it a class action lawsuit, so it would represent everyone who is in custody in the state.