Acting chief of W.Va.’s Rubenstein Juvenile Center gets permanent superintendent post
West Virginia Division of Juvenile Services Director Stephanie Bond has named longtime agency official Dan Dilly as superintendent of the state’s minimum-security juvenile facility, the Kenneth “Honey” Rubenstein Juvenile Center, effective Aug. 1.
The Rubenstein Center is an 84-bed campus in Tucker County that emphasizes treatment, community service and vocational training.
“We’re all very proud of the Rubenstein Center,” Bond said. “It’s a unique facility in West Virginia.”
Prospective residents are assessed for their willingness to transition into productive members of society, Bond said.
“They want to make changes in their life,” she said.
Dilly has been acting superintendent of the Rubenstein Center and was its director of Treatment and Programs when it opened in 2009.
He began his career in 1963, as a corrections counselor at the Huttonsville Correctional Center.
He moved to the Rubenstein Center’s predecessor facility in Davis the following year and advanced from staff to supervisory posts.
“No one knows the facility and the philosophy more than he does,” Bond said.
Dilly succeeds Bond, who became Juvenile Services director on July 1.
A Tucker County native, Dilly earned a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice, with a minor in sociology, from Fairmont State College in 1982.
His previous achievements in the field include his election as president of the Southern States Correctional Association in 2005, and as president of its West Virginia chapter in 1994.
Dilly said he is excited to be chosen for the position.
“It’s a challenging job, and it’s a very rewarding job,” he said. “We’ve had some folks that have come through here that call you back and tell you how well they’re doing and how the staff made a big difference in their life.”
West Virginia has been plagued by reports that its juvenile justice system is inadequate.
Since the closing of the mid- to maximum-security Salem Industrial Home for Youth, Juvenile Services officials have said the shuffle of youth around the state has caused major safety and overcrowding issues.
“There has been a lot of fear among, not only our staff, but throughout the Division of Juvenile Services, as to what’s going to happen with the closure of Salem,” Dilly said. “Everyone has worked together and came through that.”
Bond said the Rubenstein Center is sufficient for housing low-risk youth.
“Right now, we don’t have a need for another Rubenstein Center,” she said.
The state does lack a juvenile facility for low-risk committed females, or those sentenced for rehabilitation, but the low number of girls in custody hasn’t warranted a new facility, Bond said.
Low-risk committed females are housed at the Northern Regional Juvenile Center, in Wheeling.
The Rubenstein Center has had to accept some youth who wouldn’t have been admitted in the past, according to Dilly.
“I don’t want to say they’re not minimum risk, but they are a little more challenging to deal with,” he said. “We’re still in a learning curve, but I’m confident in our staff.”
Since the Division of Juvenile Services was court ordered to make changes, the Rubenstein Center has allowed residents to make longer phone calls and has extended visiting hours, as well as improved the grievance process, Dilly said.
Bond said Dilly had proven his leadership while adapting to changes over the past year as acting superintendent.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced in June that the state would work with the Pew Charitable Trust to conduct a comprehensive review of the juvenile justice system. The report is expected to be complete in December so that recommendations can be addressed during the 2015 legislative session.
Reach Erin Beck at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5163.