27 January 2010

Legislature 2010: Prison Overcrowding

The Legislature has begun weighing proposals addressing the state's prison system, but The Associated Press reports that "facing both inmate overcrowding and a tight state budget, West Virginia officials are recommending that lawmakers hold off building more prison space."

A consensus may be growing behind 12 of the 14 recommendations made in June by Gov. Joe Manchin's Commission on Prison Overcrowding.

The dozen "largely involve alternatives to prison," the article said, focusing on work-release, community centers to aid recovering drug addicts and revamped sentencing laws for nonviolent offenses.

Officials are urging lawmakers to pursue these options in the hope that their effects will lessen the need for the commission's remaining two option. Those call for expanding one corrections facility while building a new medium security prison.

"The state's corrections population is projected to grow to 8,530 by 2012," AP explains. "But of the 6,300 people sentenced to prison as of June, 1,300 were serving their time in jail for lack of space."

No comments: