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West Virginia State Penitentiary to remain open for tourists

Tours and events will continue at the West Virginia State Penitentiary. This comes after a section of House Bill 4338 and Senate Bill 369 posed a threat.

Tours and events will continue at the West Virginia State Penitentiary. This comes after a section of House Bill 4338 and Senate Bill 369 posed a threat.

The Moundsville Economic Development Council (MEDC) reached an agreement with those in Charleston to remove the language in those bills that would abolish the lease at the state penitentiary.

"I'm ecstatic about it,” said Delegate Mike Ferro. “It's something that has been bothering me for the last few days. "

Ferro said this is a huge positive for Marshall County, all thanks to a meeting held Monday.

"Senators Clements, Maroney, Delegate Canestraro and I, along with members of the Moundsville Economic Development Council met with Secretary Jeff Sandy and a lot of folks from the Department of Corrections,” Ferro said.

They all discussed House Bill 4338, specifically a section that stated "all current leases for or involving the West Virginia penitentiary are hereby abolished immediately."

If the bill passed with that sentence included, it could have severed the Moundsville Economic Development Council's current lease on the facility, which is supposed to run through 2029.

Now, that section will be pulled.

"Secretary Sandy agreed to pull the section of both the house bill and the senate bill because he doesn't want to jeopardize this bill that is so important to the Division of Corrections, Division of Juvenile Services and the Regional Jail Authority,” said MEDC Executive Director Suzanne Park.

The bill otherwise aims to consolidate those divisions and reduce regional jail costs.

Delegate Ferro said the House Finance Committee will take out the particular language concerning the State Penitentiary soon.

"It leaves that important economic engine open in Marshall County and allows our local people to run that part of it."

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