BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Republican Delegate Brandon Steele of Raleigh County says West Virginia jails need more legislative oversight, after a judge accuses State Division of Corrections officials of destroying evidence in a civil trial against Southern Regional Jail.

Steele said on Wednesday, November 8, 2023, that some jail facilities are over 30 years old and need half a billion dollars investment in maintenance.

He said that instances of black mold, prisoners drinking from toilets and other violations, which have been reported during lawsuit depositions, could deter businesses from settling in the state.

“Right now, we appear to be a third world country, with what we’re doing to folks that we’re jailing,” said Steele. “You know, there are folks in our community that are dangerous. At the same time, we have to maintain our moral standards and our values of treating them like a human being.”

Steele said that a recent pay raise legislators enacted for corrections officers doesn’t solve the problems in the state’s jail system.