Tomblin's prison reform bill passes W.Va. Senate - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Tomblin's prison reform bill passes W.Va. Senate

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's second major piece of legislation has passed the West Virginia Senate.

Tomblin's prison reform bill passed the Senate Thursday on a 33-0 vote.

Unlike his education bill, which passed only after significant changes, the prison bill passed without major amendments.

The bill would ensure that all prisoners are under supervision immediately following their release. Non-violent offenders would be released six months early into supervised programs.

The bill would no longer revoke probation or parole for minor violations, but would have lesser penalties.

The bill provides $25 million over five years for increased supervision and drug and alcohol treatment. It is projected to save $116 million over that time by halting the growth of the prison population.

Overcrowding in the state's prisons is at a crisis level.

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