Virginia Gov. Timothy Kaine ordered the Department of Corrections to halt plans to rent prison beds to other states to house their inmates after sheriffs across Virginia lodged complaints about the moneymaking venture, reports the Washington Post. The decision to accept out-of-state inmates had angered sheriffs whose crowded local jails hold hundreds of inmates awaiting beds at state-run prisons. David Fathi, director of the U.S. program at Human Rights Watch called the decision “good for everyone concerned” including “Virginia prisoners who won’t be packed in local jails” not equipped to hold them long-term.
Virginia will keep 300 inmates from Wyoming who are at two prisons. The number of inmates from Wyoming might increase, but no additional inmates from other states will be accepted. “I am sensitive to and will attempt to remedy the concerns that I have received from some jails,” Kaine said. The decision leaves the corrections department with no plan to make up $24 million in budgets cuts caused by a sluggish economy that affects all state agencies. Corrections director Gene Johnson said he might lay off employees or close facilities.