Justice appoints Jividen as W.Va. Corrections Commissioner
W.Va. – A career federal prosecutor is now overseeing West
Virginia’s prison system, state Military Affairs and Public Safety Secretary
Jeff Sandy announced.
Governor Jim Justice appointed Betsy
Jividen as Commissioner of the W.Va. Division of Corrections, which is part of
the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, effective Monday.
“Jividen has been a tough federal
prosecutor and Governor Justice chose her for her leadership skills at the
national level, where she developed programs to give inmates the necessary
skills to be successful upon their release,” Secretary Sandy said. “Like many
of Governor Justice’s selections, Jividen could have obtained a far more
lucrative new career. Her love of West Virginia, however, directed her to
continue to be a public servant and make a difference in corrections.”
Jividen’s service as a federal prosecutor stretches
back four decades. She was sworn in as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in 1980, the
first woman to be named to that position in the Northern District of West
Virginia. Having handled all manner of civil and criminal cases, she served as Civil
Chief, Senior Litigation Counsel, and two terms as acting and interim U.S.
Attorney. She was named First Assistant United States Attorney by three
different U.S. Attorneys.
Jividen served as acting U.S. Attorney for
the Northern District of West Virginia during most of 2017, until U.S. Attorney
William J. Powell was sworn in on Oct. 13 following his appointment by
President Trump and confirmation by the U.S. Senate.
“Betsy Jividen is an outstanding choice as
Commissioner of the Division of Corrections,” Powell said. “She has worked for
the United States Attorney’s office in the Northern District of West Virginia
for 37 years. The State of West Virginia is getting a hard-working and dedicated
professional who has worked on corrections issues for years. The Division needs
someone of her caliber and I know she will do a great job.”
Jividen has extensive experience with
corrections issues. She represented the Federal Bureau of Prisons, its staff,
and officers for more than 25 years in lawsuits filed by inmates. She supervised the prosecution of crimes
occurring inside federal correctional facilities for more than 10 years. She
has also served as a Reentry Specialist, focused on rehabilitation and reentry
programs aimed at reducing recidivism and ensuring public safety.
“I want to thank Governor Justice for the
honor of this appointment,” Jividen said. “I am very much looking forward to
the opportunity to continue serving with the brave and dedicated men and women
of the corrections community and to be part of the important work they are
The W.Va. Division of Corrections operates
15 prisons, work-release centers and related facilities and has more than 2,000
employees including more than 1,000 correctional officers. More than 7,000
offenders are currently sentenced to the custody of Corrections, which continues
to implement West Virginia’s Justice Reinvestment reforms.
Jividen takes over from acting
Commissioner Mike Coleman, who is also deputy director of Correctional
Operations for the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety. Coleman
will continue in that latter role.