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Study of Local Jails in West Virginia - Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
92 pages
Interviews with sheriffs, State officials, and service providers address the problems of West Virginia's 51 operating local jails, assess ways of improving jail operations, and develop policy recommendations.
Visits were made to 25 jails, and questionnaires were sent to all sheriffs, circuit court judges, and community mental health directors. The project team set the following goals of jail system reform: consolidate county jails, improve jail conditions, reduce liability, establish correctional programs, reduce enforced idleness, and optimize jail expenditures. Jail problems can be grouped in several categories: facilities, personnel, budgets, structure of the criminal justice system, transportation, public attitudes and understanding, and community support. Project team recommendations are to consolidate county jails through interlocal agreements between neighboring counties, construct a State-operated facility for approximately 250 long-term misdemeanants sentenced for 90 days or more, establish a jail commission or committee to implement several elements of the jail system reform program, and create minimum standards for West Virginia's jails. The recommended increased court costs and filing fees are expected to generate approximately $l million per year more than is required to implement the jail reform program, without depriving other worthwhile programs of needed funds. The Omnibus Jail Reform Act is included, along with a 44-item bibliography, a list of Jail Advisory Committee members, a review of West Virginia's economy and revenues, and the State's jail survey form.