The Mount Olive Correctional Complex, which opened in February 1995, replaced the 129-year-old West Virginia State Penitentiary in Moundsville. Located in Fayette County, about six miles from Montgomery, Mount Olive houses only maximum security prisoners. The prison is administered by the Division of Criminal Justice Services, a branch of the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.
Planning, design, and construction of the $61.8 million complex took 11 years. The facility was designed to house up to 802 male prisoners, more than any other prison in the state. By 1999, Mount Olive was operating above capacity, prompting the addition of bunk beds to some housing units.
The 120-acre complex comprises 16 buildings, which include eight housing units, a post office, power plant, warehouse, fuel depot, maintenance garage, hospital and medical clinic, classrooms, gymnasium and chapel, library, and laundry. The state’s diagnostic unit, which conducts court-ordered evaluations of inmates, is located at Mount Olive.
Industries at the facility include the tag plant, where license plates are made, the sign shop, validation sticker shop, and the soap factory. The prison’s education department offers classes in adult basic education, social skills, graphic arts, carpentry, automotive repair, and welding. Public tours of the facility are available.
The state operates nine correctional centers and two work release centers, including Mount Olive. Denmar Correctional Center houses only medium-security prisoners. The state has four minimum security facilities—Anthony Correctional Center, Beckley Correctional Center, and work release centers in Charleston and Huntington. Huttonsville Correctional Center is a medium- and maximum-security facility. The correctional centers at Pruntytown and Saint Marys hold minimum- and medium-security prisoners.
Last Revised on October 20, 2010
West Virginia Blue Book. Senate Clerk, State of West Virginia. Charleston, 1998.