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November 12, 2010

Inmates having to sleep on floors in overcrowded West Virginia jails

This local article, which is headlined "Official says inmates sleeping on jail floors," spotlights the problems of jail overcrowding in West Virginia. Here are excerpts:

Officials say the issue of over-population has reached a critical point in the state's regional jails and prisons, with no clear-cut solution in sight.

Joe Thornton, Secretary of Military Affairs and Public Safety, said the issue has gotten so bad, inmates have slept on mattresses on the floors of some facilities. The Regional Jail Authority took up the problem at its quarterly meeting Wednesday at South Central Regional Jail.

One temporary solution has been the installation additional bunks at the 10 regional jails around the state.  The bunks will be mounted to the walls in the pods as per safety specifications, leaving less space for inmate and guard movement but providing additional beds, which officials hope keeps the inmates off the floors....

"We're getting to a point where we have no room at the inn," Thornton said.  "We don't have the right of refusal."  He said the problem of over-population in the regional jails stems from having too many offenders in the state's prisons.  Currently, there are about 1,600 of the Department of Corrections 6,639 inmates being held in regional jails around the state....

A commission established by Gov. Joe Manchin to study overcrowding in the state's jails and prisons released a report last July with 14 recommendations to ease the problem. Thornton said the state is working on implementing them.

Among the recommendations was accelerated parole for eligible inmates.  He said those eligible inmates would have their parole hearing 9 months before their estimated parole date rather than 12 months, meaning they would get out three months earlier.  Add to that a review of the state criminal code to review and possibly revise or repeal outdated laws....

Thornton said the idea of adding on to any prisons or jails was "not on the table" at this point because of the state of the economy, and building another prison facility or jail was all but out of the question, he said, citing a $200 million price tag.

November 12, 2010 at 07:33 AM | Permalink

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Comments

hmm so much to work with!

"Officials say the issue of over-population has reached a critical point in the state's regional jails and prisons, with no clear-cut solution in sight."

Hmm bull easiest solution is to STOP prosecuting VICTIMLESS CRIMES..... Stop prosecuting govt MAKE WORK crimes.

as for this!

"We're getting to a point where we have no room at the inn," Thornton said. "We don't have the right of refusal."

Not sure how you figure that. If the facility is rates 200 or 200 or 2000....once you hit that number your LEGALLY required to stop shoving people in...just like any other facility like a restaurant or theatre if not MORE so since people going to those facilities actually HAVE a choice. If the number of people who have been tried and convicted and sentenced are the ones putting you over....then take them to the nearest state correctioinal facility and LEAVE THEM.

but the real kicker is this statement. Someone might wanna check their math!

"Among the recommendations was accelerated parole for eligible inmates. He said those eligible inmates would have their parole hearing 9 months before their estimated parole date rather than 12 months, meaning they would get out three months earlier."

Someone has their numbers ass backward on this one. Sorry moving the hearing date from 12 months before to 9months before would mean they STAY AN EXTRA 3 MONTHS! doesn't take a rocket scientist or a politican to know that.

Posted by: rodsmith | Nov 12, 2010 11:40:27 AM

If someone is claiming crowding is a problem, shouldn't they cite the harm it caused, physical or dignitary? No harm has taken place, outside of potential crowding stress.

If prisoners are released, three months early, and are average, they will inflict 25 additional crimes on the public, with 5 being violent. The economic harm will also be tremendous in the form of health costs for injuries, poor school or job performance, and real estate losses.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Nov 13, 2010 10:38:00 AM

ahh but based on this they are NOT being released early. It only says they will now hold their elibility hearing 3 months SOONER.

Posted by: rodsmith | Nov 13, 2010 12:40:14 PM

Just because they committed one crime doesn’t mean they will commit another. BUT here is a thought. Why don't we try to find out why they are committing crimes? Why isn't every inmate forced to fill out a survey to find out why they got there. Why aren’t we investigating this? Instead we sit there and try and predict why they did things instead of just asking. Then take the answer from the surveys and do something about it. Spend the money on ways to keep people from making the bad decisions. Prevent the cause instead of treating the symptoms.

Posted by: lizzy, ks | Nov 15, 2010 8:44:53 PM

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