(a) Any male youth between the ages of ten and eighteen years may be committed to the custody of the commissioner of corrections by a circuit court of this state in the manner prescribed in article five, chapter forty-nine of this code; and further, any male youth who has been adjudged delinquent pursuant to subdivision one, section four, article one, chapter forty-nine of this code, who, as a result thereof, was placed on probation and has been found, in a proceeding pursuant to the procedural requirements of article five, chapter forty-nine of this code, to have violated a term of probation, prior to the attainment of his twentieth birthday, which constitutes a criminal offense, may be committed to the custody of the commissioner of corrections as a youthful offender.
(b) Every youth committed hereunder shall, following the dispositional proceeding, be transferred to the place or places designated by the commissioner of corrections for complete physical, educational and psychological examinations, including all appropriate tests, to be completed as soon as possible, the completion of the physical examinations to be within twenty days. Such youth shall be housed in a manner so as to prevent the spread of infectious disease. Following disposition and prior to transfer to the custody of the commissioner of corrections, each youth shall be allowed to visit with his relatives, without being committed to jail for a period of not less than one hour. The cost of the examinations herein shall be borne by the committing county. The youth shall be provided all treatment and rehabilitation indicated by such examinations.
In lieu of the physical examinations and tests provided for herein, the court may, in the absence of objection, have the county health officer or other local health care facility perform physical and mental examinations and tests, so long as such examinations and tests are performed prior to the dispositional proceeding. Except as otherwise provided by law, no child shall be committed to a jail following a dispositional proceeding solely to await a physical, educational or mental examination or the results thereof.
(c) All such examinations shall be private. No youth who is mentally ill or significantly mentally retarded shall be committed to, or retained by, the commissioner of corrections, but shall be returned to the committing court for further disposition. No youth who has a serious infectious disease shall be retained in the custody of the commissioner of corrections, but shall be transferred to an appropriate treatment facility. Detailed medical records shall be kept of every youth.
(d) The results of any such physical, educational and psychological examinations, together with a copy of the petition, the adjudicatory order and the dispositional order shall accompany every youth committed to the commissioner of corrections, without which such youth shall not be accepted. The commissioner, or his designated representative, shall review the records of each youth committed to assure that no youth is illegally detained in an inappropriate facility or custodial situation.
(e) The commissioner of corrections shall have the authority to transfer and place such youth in any of the centers or homes or halfway programs which shall be established, and in less restrictive settings, whether under his jurisdiction or private nonprofit residential facilities, as he may deem appropriate to promote the rehabilitation of such youth. To the extent possible, no youth under the age of fifteen shall be in regular contact with youths between the ages of sixteen and eighteen.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2012 1st Special Session