CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Division of Corrections is set to open bids Nov. 5 on a plan that could move as many as 400 state prison inmates to private prisons outside of West Virginia.

State Corrections Commissioner Jim Rubenstein told a group of state lawmakers Monday 2 for-profit companies recently attended a pre-bid conference.

The state inmates are currently being held in regional jails across West Virginia because of the overcrowding situation in state prisons. Rubenstein said the regional jails don’t offer the rehabilitation programs the inmates need to be able to qualify for parole during their first appearance before the parole board. He told lawmakers the inmates could get those programs quickly in a private out-of-state prison.

“My task at hand is to make sure they become engaged in their individualized rehabilitation plan immediately,” Rubenstein said.

State inmates would have to volunteer for the transfer. Rubenstein said his legal team has researched the state constitution’s banishment clause and believe it can be done.

There are currently more than 1,500 state inmates in regional jails. Rubenstein hopes the out-of-state transfer program along with additional beds added recently at the Salem and St. Marys prisons and soon at Lakin prison will cut that number by more than half.

Rubenstein said he doesn’t see the out-of-state program as something that will be used for years and years.

“It is viewed as a temporary measure to get control of the population,” he said.

There are currently just under 6,900 inmates in West Virginia state prisons.

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  • Docbegone

    And the Regional Jails will "cry a river" because because the transfer of these inmates will impact their operational costs. They will raise the costs to the counties, further burdening the taxpayer.

    What is the net savings from privately paying for incarceration and the Regional Jails cost for incarceration?

  • chasmo

    rich - I am referring to the ones that have murdered others ,i.e. Prophet , Surber , Fiddler, etc ,just to name a few - NO APPEALS NEEDED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Rich

    Not taking a position in the underlying debate, but studies have shown the cost of appeals of death penalty convictions outweights the cost of incarcerating the inmate for life.

  • DWL

    A trip to Maricopa County and a copy of Sheriff Joe's game plan would effectively solve the "over crowding" whining left. They want to cry, let them use sweat equity to build the roof over their head. After all, the concept is endorsed by one of the left's own - the 2nd worst president of all time - Jimmy C.

  • Conchop

    Typical conservative failed legacy cost - remember in the 80's - all the talk about locking them up and throwing away the key? Population was going down, new prisons, and the need to fill them up has led to this mess.

  • BlueGoldDog

    Jima is right. It is called banishment and it is prohibited under the state constitution.

  • crazy nate

    Chasmo, is right! I could chip them in my chipper @ the cost of $0.16 each.

  • chasmo

    capital punishment would open up a lot of beds !! I am referring to LIFERS W/OUT PAROLE !

  • Jima. I said before this was tried before and the State got sued from 3 female inmates . No one is going to volunteer to go out of state.