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First inmates arrive at McDowell’s new federal prison

Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV
September 18, 2010
First inmates arrive at McDowell’s new federal prison
By CHARLES OWENS
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— WELCH — The first inmates to be housed at the new Federal Correctional Institution McDowell arrived early Friday morning at the $232 million federal facility.

They won’t have much time to settle in to their new accommodations. The minimum security inmates will be put to work next week mowing the grass and cleaning the prison grounds, according to Gene Bailey, executive assistant and a public information officer for FCI McDowell.

“We actually received our first camp inmates today,” Beasley said. “We are processing them right now. At this time, our population is 20.”

Beasley said the first group of minimum security inmates will be stationed at a satellite prison campus located adjacent to the actual prison at the Indian Ridge Industrial Park in Welch.

“They (the minimum security inmates) will do the work around the camp grounds,” Beasley said. “They will mow the grass. They will do the laundry maintenance. All of the inmates will be working.”

Beasley said additional inmates will continue to arrive in the coming weeks until the prison reaches full capacity. The first group of medium security inmates are expected to arrive in November.

Bailey said the first day of operations with inmates went well.

“Everything is going well,” “Beasley said. “We are anticipating to have inmates continuing to arrive until we get to the capacity of the camp. We are excited. It’s been a lot of hard work, and we are ready to take on the challenges of an activated institution.”

Bailey said 245 of the 330 employees who will be hired at the federal prison have already been selected.

“We on average will keep the staffing around 330 full-time employees,” Beasley said. “We have 227 on board right now, but 330 is what we will employ.”

Beasley said a number of positions must still be filled at the prison. He said area residents looking for a job at the prison can contact WorkForce West Virginia or visit www.usajobs.gov.

Beasley said many of the current prison employees have located in or are moving back home to McDowell County. About 118 of the employees hired to date are from the local region.

– Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com