CHARLESTON, WV - Senate President Jeff Kessler (D - Marshall) announced today the appointment of three Senators to serve on the Council of State Governments’ prison overcrowding working group.
“Prison overcrowding is a serious public policy issue that affects all West Virginia taxpayers,” says Kessler. “It is imperative that a comprehensive plan and coordinated approach be developed to reverse the current trend of prison population growth.”
Senate President Kessler named Senate Judiciary Vice-Chairman Mark Wills (D-Mercer) to head the Senate delegation to the working group. “The apparent necessity to expand State facilities is one option being considered,” says Wills. “It would be irresponsible however not to exhaust all other options before spending approximately $200 million to build a new prison. I look forward to working with this diverse, bi-partisan group in finding solutions to this complicated issue.”
Other members of the working group are Senators Bill Laird (D-Fayette) and Mike Hall (R-Putnam) along with three members of the House of Delegates, top court officials, state agency directors and criminal justice stakeholders. The bi-partisan working group will review trends in the state’s criminal justice system and ultimately develop policy options for state leaders to review prior to the upcoming 2013 legislative session.