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

Criminal Law Research Center Presents CLE on Resilience

Public Defender Services’ Criminal Law Research Center hosted a screening of the film Resilience on October 25, 2019, followed by a discussion of the science behind adverse childhood experiences and resilience for use in mitigation. Abuse, neglect, trauma, and dysfunction in childhood are measured in the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study, one of the largest […] Continue reading

Incarcerating Parents Effects the Next Generation

A new study found the children of incarcerated parents and caregivers were at greater risk of psychiatric disorders and societal disenfranchisement. Based on a longitudinal study (the Great Smoky Mountains Study that ran from 1993 to 2000), researchers performed a Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Assessment that looked at parental incarceration, childhood psychiatric diagnoses, and other […] Continue reading

Overdoses and Foster Care in WV

West Virginia has the highest drug overdose rates in the country and is in the midst of a foster care crisis. Point in fact, West Virginia has the highest rates of very young children (babies and toddlers) entering the foster care system, at a rate of 20.8 in 1,000; the national average is 6.6 in […] Continue reading

H.B. 2083: Identification Cards for DOCR-Released Inmates

House Bill 2083 provides for a partnership between West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (“DOCR”) and the Division of Motor Vehicles to issue an identification card for released inmates; it takes effect June 7, 2019. This law will ensure persons released from state corrections facilities have an official form of identification to seek employment, […] Continue reading