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WV Senators Question Prison Reform Bill

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Some senators are skeptical about the changes concerning parole violations in West Virginia Governor. Earl Ray Tomblin's prison reform bill.

The Senate Judiciary Committee discussed the bill Tuesday.

Republican Sen. Bill Cole of Mercer worried that more lenient punishments for parole violations would lead to reoffending.

The bill tells judges not to revoke parole for minor, non-criminal violations. Instead it imposes a series of increasing punishments that would lead to revocation on the third violation.

Sen. Samuel Cann of Harrison had similar concerns but deferred to Sen. Donald Cookman, a fellow Democrat from Hampshire who is a former circuit judge.

Cookman said that when he started as a judge he told probation officers to have no leniency for violations, but after 20 years he thinks the graduated punishments are better.

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