Jefferson County community program a model for all of West Virginia and beyond

West Virginia

RANSON, W.Va. (WDVM) — An Eastern Panhandle criminal justice program is earning statewide – even national – recognition to prevent criminals from being repeat offenders.

Jefferson County is leading the way in community corrections in West Virginia. The Jefferson Day Report Center is taking the lead with innovative drug and alcohol testing and treatment programs, some in collaboration with West Virginia University and other community corrections programs. The program is already in coordination with 27 other Mountain State counties. And its approach to counseling is being adopted across the state. It has shown to be especially effective for accountability in the drug testing process.

“Our screening matches DNA, which we take a sample of and test for 110 different substances,” says Kelly Franklin, JDRC executive director. “It allows for a fast turnaround, which is about 24 hours.”

Franklin and her director of DUI programs, Jennifer Lyons, work closely with the judicial system’s drug court programs, which give first time, non-violent offenders a chance to stay out of jail if they meet with probation officers, hold a job and/or stay in school and pass drug and alcohol screenings.

“We are offering our expertise to all 55 counties,” says Lyons. “We have 27 counties currently with clients enrolled and have partnered with other day report centers in the state to assist in some of the drug screens that have to be done for the clients.”

Franklin says she is looking to expand her modern screening and testing methods throughout West Virginia with even more innovative programs.

Franklin and Lyons has also been effective in telehealth counseling during the pandemic.

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