In his 2014 State of the State address, West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin highlighted his administration’s progress in implementing the Justice Reinvestment Act, which includes policies designed to reduce corrections spending and increase public safety.
“Last spring, we began to improve public safety and reduce prison overcrowding by passing the Justice Reinvestment Act with bipartisan support. Since that time, my administration has rolled up its sleeves to begin implementing these reforms to build a foundation that will—over time—transform the landscape of our criminal justice system for the better. I am especially proud of our administration for developing innovative, collaborative solutions that will help former inmates recover from substance abuse, find a job, and be productive members of society.
“Although the work has just begun, and will continue for some time, we can already see the roots of progress taking hold and the sprouts of early success. Today, I am proud to tell you since June, we have reduced overcrowding in our regional jails by more than 600 individuals. We have also reduced the overall number of corrections inmates—for the first time in 16 years—by almost 300 individuals. Now, through our justice reinvestment efforts, we are moving our inmates out of regional jails and into placements offering substance abuse and job training services.”
In 2012, the CSG Justice Center began working with state leaders in West Virginia to develop data-driven, consensus-based policy options designed to reduce corrections spending and increase public safety. Since the state passed the Justice Reinvestment Act in April 2013, the CSG Justice Center has continued to provide assistance in its implementation.
The legislation includes policies to strengthen community supervision, increase accountability, streamline correctional system processes, and expand access to substance abuse treatment. These policies are projected to avert up to an estimated $200 million in correctional facility construction costs and $87 million in operating costs between 2014 and 2018.
To read the transcript, click here.