For one, Jones has allowed the inmates to have personal items in their rooms and has ordered new mattresses for the cells and new polo-shirt uniforms for the inmates and staff. Additionally, counselors now have more individual sessions with the residents and other training sessions that focus on creating a therapeutic environment.
Jones said during one staff meeting that the facility "is no longer a maximum-security center for juveniles," and that "this will be a treatment center with security, not a security facility with treatment."
DeMuro said last month that, even though the preliminary changes to Salem are laudable, the main problem is still that the facility has the look and feel of an adult prison. Adult prisons, he said, are punitive in nature, and not rehabilitative.
Salem's "training school" model also is considered counterproductive because juveniles as young as 10 are sometimes in contact with dangerous criminals as old as 21. DeMuro recommended that the state should relocate residents younger than 15 and that all girls should be placed in gender-specific programs.
DeMuro, in his audit of the facility, suggested that the state move toward community corrections programs or foster-care programs geared toward children with behavioral disorders.
DeMuro said his findings are based on a study released last year by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which said juvenile facilities have 72 percent recidivism rates and waste billions of taxpayer dollars every year.
The study highlights six alternatives to the traditional system, including systems that focus heavily on individual therapy and replacing large juvenile prisons with smaller regional prisons for violent offenders.
Aboulhosn ordered the Division of Juvenile Services to provide an individual assessment on the children that remain in the facility and determine whether any of them should be transferred to another program.
He set another hearing to discuss Friday's order for Jan. 11 in Kanawha County Circuit Court. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, House Speaker Rick Thompson, D-Wayne, and Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, were forwarded copies of the order. Aboulhosn said he would issue a final order after the parties resolve all of the outstanding issues in the lawsuit.
Reach Zac Taylor at zachary.tay...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.