CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Division of Corrections hopes it will soon receive several proposals from out-of-state prisons to house West Virginia inmates.
State Corrections Commissioner Jim Rubenstein told state lawmakers earlier this week as many as 400 inmates could volunteer to leave regional jails and go to out-of-state jails that have treatment programs that aren’t offered in the West Virginia Regional Jail system.
Rubenstein said the goal is to get state prison inmates, who are housed in regional jails, ready for their first hearings before the state Parole Board.
“The RFP (request for proposals) lays out what type of treatment, programs, education is needed,” he said. “We should know in a couple of weeks what those costs are going to look like.”
State Corrections currently pays the Regional Jail Authority more than $30 million a year to house approximately 1,600 state inmates because there’s no room for them in state prisons.
“If we could get people in programs and prepare them to see the parole board the first time and successfully granted parole, we think that’s real critical,” Rubenstein said.
Inmates who volunteer for out-of-state transfer would have to waive their rights under the state Constitution, which has a banishment clause.
Rubenstein also told lawmakers several other smaller projects to relieve overcrowding are underway including a project adding 56 beds at the St. Marys Correctional Facility, 70 beds at the Lakin Women’s Prison, along with additional space at the Ohio County and Parkersburg correctional facilities.