W.Va. prison commissioner warns of crowding crisis - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

W.Va. prison commissioner warns of crowding crisis

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- West Virginia Prison Commissioner Jim Rubenstein warned the Senate Finance Committee that overcrowding in the state's prisons has reached a crisis state.

Rubenstein told lawmakers on Thursday that inmates in regional jails are sleeping on mattresses on the floors.

There are currently 1,865 state prisoners being housed in regional jails that were never meant for long-term prisoners. Rubenstein said that getting those prisoners out of regional jails is his top priority.

Rubenstein expects 350 new beds to be built across the prison system this year.

He said that recommendations from a recent report on prison crowding would slow the rate of prison growth, but would not significantly reduce crowding.

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