Regional Jail Authority May Start Over Programs to Help State Inmates It Houses
The state Regional Jail Authority says it could possibly help more than 1,000 state inmates, housed in regional jails, get the programs they need for parole.
Regional Jail Authority acting Director Joe DeLong told members of a legislative committee meeting in Charleston the authority is exploring what it would cost to offer the programs the inmates can only get now in state prison.
“They are under our roof and we should be an active part in trying to come up with solutions ourselves to help reduce the problem of DOC (Division of Corrections) inmates not being able to get the programs they need to get parole eligibility,“ DeLong said.
There are currently approximately 1,800 state inmates in regional jails because state prisons are overcrowded.
Some of those inmates have a difficult time getting out on parole because the program-aspect of that process is not offered in regional jails.
Delong says they have estimated establishing the programming, which includes hiring staff, would cost about $1.4 million a year.
He says the regional jails would charge the Division of Corrections another $2 to $4 a day, per inmate, to cover the cost.
Delong says it is possible as many as 1,200 lower-risk inmates could complete the program in one year.
He says that combined with other efforts could get them out of jail early.
Delong says the regional jails are at capacity and so are the prisons so something must be done.
“Our double-bunking is now full,“ Delong told lawmakers. “We are pretty much at 100% capacity when it comes to double-bunking our cells.“