skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Monday, April 15, 2024

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

25 million Blacks, Latinos missing from voter databases; major news organizations urge Biden and Trump to commit to presidential debates; NM gun-control advocates praise federal rule closing 'gun show loophole; Arkansas group raising awareness during Black Maternal Health Week.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

House Republicans want citizenship proof for federal election voting, under White House pressure Israel shows restraint after Iran's attack and Trump's hush money trial starts.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Housing advocates fear rural low-income folks who live in aging USDA housing could be forced out, small towns are eligible for grants to enhance civic participation, and North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues.

WV Groups See Bill as Politicizing Parole Hearings

play audio
Play

Thursday, March 25, 2021   

CHARLESTON, W.V. -- Criminal-justice advocates in West Virginia urged lawmakers to oppose a new bill they say would politicize parole hearings, making it more difficult for incarcerated people to get a fair review.

House Bill 2747 would put the Department of Homeland Security in charge of the state parole board's hearing office and require the chair of that board be an attorney, serving directly under the governor.

Beverly Sharp, director of reentry initiatives for the West Virginia Council of Churches, said the chair would no longer be a full-time position and someone without experience in corrections could be chosen for the post as a political appointment.

"If you politicize even more, these positions, and you serve at the will and pleasure of the governor, it makes it extremely difficult for individuals to assess the case based on merit as opposed to what's the current political climate," Sharp contended.

She noted the bill is having a reading today in the House Judiciary Committee, and stands a good chance of passing with Republican support.

The bill is one of two measures introduced this session aimed at changing parole policy.

Prison reform groups support House Bill 3078, which would allow inmates to complete required classes while on parole instead of beforehand.

Eli Baumwell, policy director for the ACLU of West Virginia, said access to these classes, which fill up quickly and cover drug rehabilitation and life skills, are a barrier to reentry and one reason the state's prisons are overcrowded.

"It's going to reduce the overpopulation, and that has a whole bunch of good downstream effects," Baumwell asserted. "It helps to encourage reentry, and it goes back to a basic ACLU principle, which is that we over-rely on our incarceral system anyway, and we need to start looking at ways that we can be promoting rehabilitation."

As of January, more than 5,700 people were incarcerated in West Virginia's regional jails, which only have beds for 4,265 inmates, according to state data.

House Bill 3078 passed the House last week by a vote of 93-6. It's also expected to pass the Senate with bipartisan support.


get more stories like this via email

more stories
In March, state Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, introduced House Bill 2063, which would reform the Educational Improvement Tax Credit and the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit programs. (Jasmina/AdobeStock)

Social Issues

play sound

A new report analyzes Pennsylvania's existing voucher programs, that divert public funds to private schools. This comes on the heels of Gov…


Social Issues

play sound

A bill vetoed by Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin would have raised the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour starting in 2026. While the bill moved out …

play sound

By Erin Aubry Kaplan for Yes! Magazine.Broadcast version by Suzanne Potter for California News Service reporting for the Yes! Magazine-Public News …


There are more than 1,300 species listed as either endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act, including the piping plover, a shorebird found on sandy beaches in southern Maine. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

Conservationists in Maine said reinstated protections of the Endangered Species Act could help wildlife already struggling to adapt to climate change…

Social Issues

play sound

Haitian-led groups in Massachusetts are calling for a temporary pause in deportations as political instability and violence engulf the island…

Women ages 35 and older in Arkansas have the highest mortality rate, which was 3.9 times the rate of women younger than 25. (Andrey Popov)

Social Issues

play sound

Arkansas is taking critical steps to address its high maternal mortality rate, especially among women of color. In the Natural State, Black women …

Social Issues

play sound

In the midst of political tensions surrounding Israel's handling of the conflict with Hamas, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., has voiced her support for …

Health and Wellness

play sound

As the country observes Autism Acceptance Month, Nebraska families raising a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder are among those learning they will …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright © 2021