CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — West Virginia Governor Jim Justice says he’s willing to testify in a lawsuit over jail and prison conditions in the state with the little information he says he has.
“I would welcome anyone, at any time, to swear me into doing sworn testimony. But we don’t want to just do something that is an absolute total waste of time, over something that I don’t know anything about,” said Gov. Jim Justice (R) West Virginia.
This lawsuit is just one of a number pending against the state. The Southern Regional Jail is the specific target of a federal class action lawsuit that aims to represent all inmates in West Virginia prisons and jails.
The suit alleges that correctional facilities are overcrowded with inmates and understaffed with corrections officers and support staff.
It also claims the facilities are poorly maintained, making some unsafe and unhealthy.
Lawyers have already taken depositions from current and former corrections leaders. But they now want Governor Justice and his Chief of Staff Brian Abraham to testify, even though they claim no first-hand knowledge of the problems.
The governor and his chief of staff have already filed motions to quash their subpoenas to testify, but the judge has yet to make a final ruling.
The governor says those who run the prisons and jails daily are best equipped to answer the questions.
Among other things, the lawsuit wants nearly $300 million to address deferred maintenance at all corrections facilities across the state.