A commission appointed by West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin to study prison overcrowding recommends building a 1,200-cell correctional facility and expanding alternative sentencing programs to avoid “disastrous consequences” in regional jails and ease the overflow of inmates, the Charleston Daily Mail reports. The report comes after the 18-member Governor’s Commission on Prison Overcrowding reviewed the correctional capacities and conditions in the state. A new prison could cost up to $200 million to build and take four years to complete.
In addition to a new prison, the commission called for the construction of 300 beds at the St. Mary’s Correctional Complex. State officials have discussed adding beds and cells to the facility in recent years, but have yet to follow through on those plans. Manchin put together the committee in January. The number of state prisoners has been rising about 7 percent annually.