Coming Soon – Juvenile Law Boot Camp and Alternatives Program

Coming soon – through generous funding from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention through a grant awarded by the Division of Justice and Community Services, Public Defender Services will host a 40-hour virtual CLE series for West Virginia attorneys representing children in status offenses and delinquency cases. With expertise from the Juvenile Law […] Continue reading

Public Defender Corporation Recovery Coach Project Selected as 1 of 9 Rural Innovation Sites

The Rural Justice Collaborative (RJC) Advisory Council has selected the Public Defender Corporation Recovery Coach Project, conceived and created by West Virginia Public Defender Services, as one of nine Rural Innovation Sites. These are the country’s most innovative rural justice programs which will serve as models for other communities. The RJC initiative will provide resources […] Continue reading

Women’s History Month – Making History for the Wrong Reasons

The month of March is observed as Women’s History Month. But in the West Virginia criminal legal system, women are making history for the wrong reasons. West Virginia ranks ninth in the country for rates of incarcerating women, and female incarceration has grown 2,731% between 1978 to 2019. Nearly three-quarters (72.21%) of women incarcerated at Lakin Correctional Center […] Continue reading

Now Hiring: SWIFT Defense Social Worker

A new, grant-funded social worker position for the SWIFT Defense of Women project is now open for application. Qualified applicants will have a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in Social Work (preferred) and licensure is preferred but not required. This position is a grant-funded position that starts immediately and lasts through September 30, 2021 (the period of […] Continue reading

SWIFT Defense: Moving Quickly to Address the Over-Incarceration of Women

West Virginia women comprise half of the state’s population. While more men are arrested and incarcerated in West Virginia’s jails and prisons, women have seen a substantial increase in rates of incarceration over the last thirty years. Since 1989, West Virginia’s female incarceration rate has increased 677.5%, ranking this state as 14th nationally in the […] Continue reading

Lawyer Resources in the Time of COVID

Advocacy in court and confidential meetings with clients are commonplace for criminal defense attorneys — except in the time of COVID. The pandemic has halted non-emergency court proceedings and caused all West Virginians to shelter in place. The unintended consequence of these life and work changes include increased stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms. Recognizing the […] Continue reading

Judicial Emergency Declared by West Virginia Supreme Court to Reduce In-Person Proceedings

The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals issued an administrative order declaring a judicial emergency related to activities of the courts in all 55 counties. According to a March 22, 2020 press release and attached administrative order, as of March 23, 2020 until April 10, 2020, only emergency proceedings required to protect the immediate health […] Continue reading

Incarcerated and at Risk for COVID-19

With the nationwide introduction of COVID-19 (also known as the novel coronavirus), we are taking precautions related to handwashing, use of hand sanitizer, and social distancing. These precautions are not available to the inmates in our jails and prisons, individuals who are at risk to the spread of disease by virtue of their environment, health […] Continue reading

Public Defender Corporation Recovery Coach Project Numbers

In July 2019, seven peer recovery coaches with lived experience in recovery from substance use and past contact with the criminal justice system began work for public defender corporations in 22 counties, serving 14 judicial circuits. The purpose of embedding recovery coaches into public defender corporations was simple: intervene into criminal defendant substance use issues […] Continue reading