Paul DeMuro, an expert on the juvenile justice system, told the judge about his evaluation of the Sam Perdue Treatment Center in Mercer County. That's where juvenile sex offenders from the Harriet B. Jones Treatment Center were moved.
DeMuro complimented the department on their transparency and the transition, but highlighted a statewide problem: how little correctional officers are paid.
He said the low pay must result in a hiring and retention problem, because staff can leave for surrounding states for a higher salary.
But the attorneys agreed that's a problem for state lawmakers to fix.
Marty Wright, an attorney for the state, said staff and juveniles would benefit when the lawsuit concludes. Wright said some staff has noticed juveniles are acting untouchable with numerous rule changes since the lawsuit began.
"It's time to start bringing some finality and let the division implement the programs they're trying to put in place," he said.
Reach Kate White at kate.wh...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.