EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSDEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS DOLLARS
from Eyewitness News Online
Millions of Tax Dollars Wasted
Reported by: Patrick McMurtry
Web Producer: Patrick McMurtry
Reported: May. 3, 2012 4:18 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
A legislative audit released this year says overcrowding at state prisons is to blame for keeping hundreds of inmates in custody longer than they should be incarcertated and that's wasted millions of tax dollars.
The problem is the inmates need rehab, education and other services only available in state prisons. Because there aren't enough cells to house them in prisons, they are serving their time in regional jails which don't provide those services.
without those services, they don't meet requirements they need to get paroled.
"95% of the inmates will be back on the streets and they're going to be
shopping at the malls, grocery stores and driving the same roads as you
are, so do you want people back on the streets with some lick of sense
on how to behave themselves and be contributing citizens or do you want
them on the streets looking for ways to hurt others?"
And since these prisoners aren't getting released, taxpayers are forced to pay a lot of money to keep them in custody when they should be free.
Between 2008 and 2010, the audit found nearly a thousand inmates were forced to remain incarcerated an average of four months longer than they were supposed to, and that cost west virginia taxpayers nearly six million dollars. The commissioner of the states department of corrections says
things aren't getting any better.
"Sadly, the prison population has continued to grow. actually, any
given month throughout the year, that population has been increasing
every month since that audit was released."
That means the amount of tax dollars wasted is growing to the tune of
two million dollars a year, and since there are no plans to build any
more prisons, that number will continue to skyrocket unless something
changes. Prison officials want a comprehensive look at how
criminals are handled once convicted.
"every study that's been done, putting people in prison without any
rehab or counselling, not preparing them to get back on the street, all
you're doing is putting them through a revolving door."
A revolving door that's costing us millions of dollars a year.
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