Despite little growth in either its population or crime rate, West Virginia has seen a marked increase in the number of people housed in its corrections facilities. As the state's prisons become overcrowded, West Virginia is facing a corrections crisis that not only impacts the state's budget but also the low-income and minority communities that are disproportionately impacted by drug addiction and substance abuse issues that land them in prison instead of treatment programs.
Cover photo credits: Tony Clark, Jane Dillard, Edna Green, James Hagwood, Joan Hairston, Ben Shahn
The report, “Legacy of Inequality: Racial and Economic Disparities in West Virginia” includes a sobering analysis of Census and other data conducted by the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, the Partnership of African-American Churches and the American Friends Service Committee.
Carrying enlarged photographs of their lost loved ones, family members of three of the 29 miners killed in the 2010 explosion at West Virginia’s Upper Big Branch mine spent June 6-7 in Washington, D.C., pleading with lawmakers to take action to improve mine safety and to stiffen penalties for mining companies that knowingly, willingly, and recklessly place miners’ lives at risk.
AFSC is excited about our role and Tuesday’s announcement of the record federal settlement in the wake of Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster, which killed 29 West Virginia coal miners in April 2010.
Read more about AFSC's response to the settlement.
On December 6, US Attorney Booth Goodwin announced that the federal government and Alpha Natural Resources have reached a settlement in the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster, including $210 million in fines and required safety improvements.
Thursday was the six-month anniversary of the nation’s new health care law. West Virginia supporters of the Affordable Care Act marked the day with comments about provisions of the law that are now in effect. Among the members of West Virginians for Affordable Health Care speaking out yesterday was Rick Wilson of the American Friends Service Committee.
The 29 miners killed in the April 5 methane explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine have been laid to rest, but signs of a community in deep mourning are still visible in the coal towns that line West Virginia’s Coal River Valley. Hand-scrawled messages in the windows of homes and businesses urge passers-by to “pray for our miners and their families,” as do billboards in front of churches with names like Amazing Grace and Healing Stream.
AFSC is a Quaker organization devoted to service, development, and peace programs throughout the world. Our work is based on the belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice. Learn more
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