West Virginia Court Records
The West Virginia State Prison System
Individuals sentenced to a term of imprisonment in West Virginia may either serve time in jail or prison. The Sheriff Offices are responsible for maintaining the county jails and anyone who is confined in such facilities. Whereas the West Virginia Division of Correction and Rehabilitation (WVDOCR) oversees the maintenance of state prisons and regional jails, and the care, control, and rehabilitation of any individual incarcerated in those penal institutions, including persons on parole. Both agencies are charged with generating and storing records of incarcerated persons.
What is the Difference Between Jail and Prison in West Virginia?
Typically, when mentioning the institution where individuals are held because of a criminal offense or violation, the words, “jail” and “prison” are used together or in place of one another. In West Virginia, a person is confined in a county or regional jail when the criminal offense is a misdemeanor and the period of imprisonment does not exceed 12 months. Conversely, an individual will be incarcerated in a state penitentiary for a felony offense, and usually, the sentence for a felony exceeds 1 year. The county or regional jails are also used to detain persons who are awaiting trial or are crime witnesses.
How Many Prisons are in West Virginia?
In West Virginia, the Division of Correction and Rehabilitation maintains several prisons, regional jails, juvenile facilities, adult community corrections facilities, youth reporting centers, and parole services offices. Also, WVDOCR holds inmates in an out-of-state contract facility located in McDowell County.
The prisons and jails have different security levels (minimum, medium, or maximum) and are divided into adult and juvenile facilities:
Adult Correctional Facilities (Prisons and Jails)
- Western Regional Jail and Correctional Facility
- Tygart Valley Regional Jail and Correctional Facility
- Southwestern Regional Jail and Correctional Facility
- Southern Regional Jail and Correctional Facility
- South Central Regional Jail and Correctional Facility
- Salem Correctional Center and Jail
- Saint Marys Correctional Center and Jail
- Pruntytown Correctional Center and Jail
- Potomac Highlands Regional Jail and Correctional Facility
- Ohio County Correctional Center and Jail
- Northern Regional Jail
- Northern Correctional Facility
- North Central Regional Jail and Correctional Facility
- Mount Olive Correctional Complex and Jail/Slayton Work Camp
- McDowell County Corrections/Stevens Correctional Center (out-of-state facility)
- Martinsburg Correctional Center and Jail
- Lakin Correctional Center and Jail
- Huttonsville Correctional Center and Jail/Huttonsville Work Camp
- Eastern Regional Jail and Correctional Facility
- Denmar Correctional Center and Jail
- Central Regional Jail and Correctional Facility
Adult Correctional Facilities (Community Corrections)
- Parkersburg Correctional Center and Jail
- Charleston Correctional Center and Jail
- Beckley Correctional Center and Jail
- Anthony Correctional Center
- Vicki Douglas Juvenile Center
- Tiger Morton Juvenile Center
- Sam Perdue Juvenile Center
- Ronald Mulholland Juvenile Center
- Robert L. Shell Juvenile Center
- Lorrie Yeager Juvenile Center
- Kenneth Honey Rubenstein Juvenile Center
- J. M. Chick Buckbee Juvenile Center
- Gene Spadaro Juvenile Center
- Donald R. Kuhn Juvenile Center
How do I search for an Inmate in West Virginia State Prison?
Interested persons can search for an inmate imprisoned in a West Virginia regional jail or state prison in a few ways.
- To search the daily incarcerations database, select the applicable county and click the search button. Available results include the inmate’s full name, date of birth, charge(s), case number, status, and booking date.
- To search the WV Regional Jail Offender Search database, enter an inmate’s last name. Searchers can also use a person’s first name but it is optional. Obtainable results include the inmate’s name (first, middle, and last), suffix, location, and photograph. By clicking on “more info,” searchers may obtain the inmate’s birthdate, height, weight, race, booking time, and court order list (case number, issuing agency, bail type, and bail amount).
To find offenders incarcerated in state prisons, use the WV Prison Offender Search. Interested persons may query the database with an offender’s last and first name, or an Offender ID (OID) number (the first four numbers, at least). The search turns up results including the offender’s full name, OID number, location, sentencing county, sex, race, date of birth, offense, intake date, and parole and release information.
Members of the public can also view information on inmates who have escaped or absconded. This information includes the escapee’s or absconder’s full name, OID number, location, and photograph.
Are Incarceration Records Public in West Virginia?
Yes, incarceration records are open to the public in West Virginia under the Freedom of Information Act codified as W. Va.Code §§ 29B–1–1 et seq. However, access is prohibited under particular situations such as: if the sought-after record contains information that could jeopardize the safety of inmates or the security of the penitentiary.
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.
Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
How to Look Up Jail Records in West Virginia?
As mentioned earlier, offenders can be held in a county or regional jail in West Virginia. While the former is maintained by the Sheriff’s office, the latter is operated by the West Virginia Division of Correction and Rehabilitation. Individuals may look up jail records by querying the relevant state agency or jail facility for request procedures and applicable fees.
Can Jail Records be Expunged in West Virginia?
Though West Virginia statutes do not explicitly mention expungement as regards jail records, it is possible to expunge certain arrest records and criminal convictions under W. Va. Code § 2§61–11–26. This statute also discusses the eligibility criteria for expungement by the courts. Furthermore, the West Virginia Judiciary provides instructions and forms for filing expungement petitions.