Prison bill advances with few changes

CHARLESTON (AP) — A House committee has made only minor changes to a prison reform bill despite concerns the measure gives too much authority to the Division of Corrections.

The House Judiciary Committee advanced the bill Monday but committee members questioned whether the division should draft legislative rules before reducing sanctions for parole violators or expanding the number of parolees. Delegates also questioned why the bill did not provide parole-required services to state inmates housed in regional jails to increase the number of parole eligible inmates. They noted that the bill would not end overcrowded conditions.

As many as 1,700 state prisoners are held in regional jails because of a lack of beds at the state’s 13 prisons.

A key component of the bill would add 200 beds to a prison-based drug treatment.

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