Debate is expected on W.Va prison reform - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Debate is expected on W.Va prison reform

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Heavy debate is expected as Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's bill to reform West Virginia's overcrowded prisons approaches a vote in the House.

The vote is expected Friday, so any final amendments must be introduced and debated Thursday.

Tomblin told The Associated Press that he hopes the House revisits an amendment that would require every county to participate in drug court programs.

He said that drug courts have been helpful in the counties where they already exist, but that mandating them is not the best way to establish them throughout the state.The drug court amendment was included by the House Judiciary Committee on a close vote.

Republican Minority Leader Tim Armstead has expressed concern with a provision that allows judges to release non-violent offenders six months early into supervised programs.

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