In the seven months since legislation intended to alleviate West Virginia prison overcrowding was signed into law, the state’s inmate population has dropped by 253 and the backlog of inmates housed in state regional jails is down 554, reports the Charleston Gazette. An aide to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin told a legislative committee that the numbers “have been moving in the right direction.”
From April 13, the day the Justice Reinvestment Act was signed into law, to Monday, the state’s inmate population dropped from 7,078 to 6,825. Previous projections had called for the population to grow past the 7,500 mark by the end of the year. The backlog of inmates housed in the state’s 10 regional jails because state prisons are at capacity has dropped from 1,736 on April 13 to 1,192 on Monday.