The West Virginia Industrial Home for Youth, located at Industrial, near Salem in Harrison County, has served as a maximum-security facility for girls and boys. With a capacity of 206, the correction center’s population consisted of males and females age 12 to 20.
In 2013, the young offenders are to be transferred to other juvenile centers, and the facility will house adult inmates. The facility—to be called Salem Correctional Center—will become a minimum- and medium- security prison for up to 400 men.
The Industrial Home for Youth opened in 1899 as the West Virginia Industrial Home for Girls. Young females were sentenced by the juvenile courts or justices of the peace for incorrigibility and immorality, and by the criminal courts for felonies. Males were sentenced to the Industrial Home for Boys in Pruntytown, which had opened in 1891.
The change in philosophy regarding youth incarceration, which began in the 1970s, led to population declines at the industrial homes. In 1983, the Industrial School for Boys closed, and the girls’ facility was redesignated as the Industrial Home for Youth. The boys from Pruntytown were moved to this institution.
In 2000, an $18 million expansion was completed at the Industrial Home for Youth, with separate wings for females, males, and sex offenders. The new building provided for greater security, in-house medical services, and treatment programs. Educational services were provided through the West Virginia Department of Education.
Conditions at the facility drew criticism, however, and the Division of Juvenile Services developed plans to transfer young offenders out of the Industrial Home for Youth. The plan is also designed to ease overcrowding in the state’s regional jails.