State Seeks to Resolve Prison Overcrowding Problem - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

State Seeks to Resolve Prison Overcrowding Problem

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A hotly debated topic in West Virginia could see resolution.

A new study of West Virginia's inmate crowding crisis is proposing solutions that researchers say will save the state $140 million.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin outlined recommendations Tuesday from the Justice Reinvestment project which is responsible for the study.

Researchers from the Justice Center at the nonpartisan Council of State Governments have spent months scrutinizing West Virginia's crowding crisis.

West Virginia prisons are at capacity. Officials say jails have hundreds more inmates than they were designed for.

The study proposes a science-based method for assessing the risk of offenders as they enter the criminal justice system. It says the state must ensure that no one is released from prison unsupervised.

But it also calls on the state to strengthen community supervision programs. That will include devoting more than $25 million toward substance abuse and addiction treatment.

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