Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's WV prison reform bill passes Senate comm - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's WV prison reform bill passes Senate committee

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's plan for changes in the state's prison system has unanimously passed the Senate Finance Committee March 18.

The bill could be voted on by the full Senate on Thursday.

The bill to try to ease crisis-level crowding in state prisons and regional jails was only briefly discussed before it passed the committee Monday.

According to projections, the reforms will halt growth in the state's prisons, saving about $115 million over the next five years. The bill calls for a reinvestment of $25 million over the next five years for expanded post-release supervision and drug treatment programs.

The reforms aren't expected to substantially decrease the current prison population.

The bill's provisions for early release for non-violent offenders and relaxed punishments for probation violators are likely to be debated in the House of Delegates.

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