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Overcrowding Still an Issue in WV Prisons

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- All the members of a panel on prison overcrowding agree that building a new prison in West Virginia is a last resort, but none ruled it out as a potential solution.

West Virginia Corrections Commissioner Jim Rubinstein said Thursday that West Virginia is at a crisis state when it comes to prison overcrowding. Every bed is filled, and there are 1,700 to 1,800 prisoners being housed in regional jails that are meant for shorter term prisoners and lesser crimes.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Corey Palumbo endorsed a recent study's proposal that would release prisoners six months early with supervision. Kanawha County Delegate Patrick Lane agreed with supervised release but was hesitant about shortened sentences.

The panel members spoke at The Associated Press' annual Legislative Lookahead at Marshall University's graduate campus.

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