West Virginia officials say overcrowding has reached a critical point in the state’s regional jails and prisons, reports the Associated Press. Joe Thornton, secretary of military affairs and public safety, says inmates have slept on mattresses on the floors of some facilities. “We’re getting to a point where we have no room at the inn. We don’t have the right of refusal,” Thornton said. “It’s a critical issue that’s not going to go away easily.”
The Charleston Daily Mail reports that the Regional Jail Authority took up the problem yesterday. About 1,600 of the Department of Corrections 6,639 inmates being held in regional jails around the state. One temporary solution has been the installation additional bunks at the 10 regional jails. Other recommendations include accelerated parole for eligible inmates and efforts to enhance support to work release facilities and day report centers. Thornton said adding on to any prisons or jails was “not on the table” because of the state of the economy. He said building another prison or jail was all but out of the question, citing a $200 million price tag.