Halfway house in Huntington temporarily shut down

Published: May. 4, 2018 at 5:20 PM EDT
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A halfway house the city of Huntington alleges has been operating illegally has temporarily been shut down.

The city filed a civil complaint against Recovery House on 10th Avenue, operator Christina Lynn Jack Perkins and owner Larry Wilson.

The house is in the 1000 block of 10th Avenue.

City Attorney Scott Damron says the halfway house didn't have any of the required business licenses. He also said a convicted criminal was running the house that was filled with recently released convicts on probation or parole.

"That's quite disturbing," neighbor Roberta Brumfield said. "It's quite disturbing to feel like people right down the street ... when your grandkids are here and they're playing in the backyard are exposed to people that have that type of background."

According to the lawsuit, the house was being operated in violation of city ordinances requiring business licenses, certificates of occupancy and in violation of zoning laws.

"The operation of the facility poses an extreme and immediate threat to the safety of the neighborhood, as a group of convicted criminals are living together with no supervision other than that of another convicted criminal serving a period of confinement," the suit alleges.

Judge Christopher Chiles granted a preliminary injunction against the halfway house in court on Friday. Although, Perkins said everyone left the house by April 25.

Chiles told Perkins she was in violation of her home confinement by having another person on probation or parole living in the same house.

"It was a sober living home and there are parolees, probationers and home confinement inmates in all sober living homes," Perkins said.

In court, Perkins said the property was always intended to be a sober living house.

"We never really wanted to be a halfway house; our goal was to help drug addicts," Perkins said. "Again, I'm very unclear on what the difference in those two are."

The business has 20 days to reply to the lawsuit from the time it was sent. Damron says the city will then file for a permanent injunction.

"I think we need to think about the whole picture here and not just, I mean we want to help people,but let's do it in a proper way," Brumfield said.

Damron says there were convicted criminals who did time for armed robbery and drug trafficking living in the house. The suit alleges there were as many as nine convicts in the house at one time.

The suit alleges that shortly before the first of April, either Perkins, or both Perkins and Wilson, began representing to the West Virginia Division of Corrections that they were fully licensed to serve as a commercial halfway house for recently released prisoners who had been paroled or were on probation.

As a result, several prisoners were sent to the house by both the Stevens Correctional Center and the Salem Correctional Center, according to the suit. We reached out to the Division of Corrections as to how this happened but have not heard back.