24 June 2008

Prison Overcrowding in W.Va.

Already overcrowded with 6,124 inmates, West Virginia's prison system doesn't have the space for 1,200 convicted felons sent there as punishment, leaving them in the state's regional jails instead.

As The Charleston Gazette reports, the effects of this situation include an annual jail fee bill of $22 million while the Division of Corrections seeks other options.

Corrections Commissioner Jim Rubenstein told lawmakers Monday while "the state is meeting federal requirements for prison space," the jails "are not being operated as prisons and do not offer the same programs for early release for good behavior," the newspaper reported.

The Register-Herald also reported on Rubenstein's presentation during the ongoing interim meetings.

Both The Gazette's article and a separate piece by the Beckley newspaper also touch on indications that "snafus in getting proper home plans before a parole board have left an unknown number of convicts behind bars, unnecessarily jacking up costs to the state."

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