Criminals whose parole or probation have been revoked have cost West Virginia at least $168 million over the past five years, says Council of State Governments Justice Center. “Recidivism is costing West Virginia money as we speak,” the center’s Carl Reynolds told a legislative committee yesterday, reports the Charleston Gazette. From 2007 to 2011, there were 2,506 parole revocations, 2,389 probation revocations, and 591 community corrections revocations. More than half of the revocations were for technical violations. That usually means possession of drugs or alcohol, failure to report to the parole or probation officer, or failure to report a change of residence or work status.
Only 21 percent of revocations were because of new criminal charges. The number of inmates being released after serving their full sentence is up 33 percent, with many opting to “max out” rather than seeking parole. Under state law, where inmates’ sentences are reduced by one day for each day of good time credit, the time period between initial parole eligibility and maxing out — which imposes no post-release supervision — can be very narrow, he said. “At some point, people are deciding, “You know what? I’m not even going to go to the parole board. I’m going to sit it out for nine months and walk away,” Reynolds said. The lack of post-prison supervision is a factor in increasing recidivism rates. “More people are maxing out and leaving with no supervision,” Reynolds said.