skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Monday, June 17, 2024

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

Family farmers call for tougher CAFO regulations in Farm Bill; The Midwest and Northeast brace for record high temperature in heatwave; Financial-justice advocates criticize crypto regulation bill; Ohio advocates: New rules strengthen protections for sexual-assault victims.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

The RNC kicks off its election integrity effort, Democrats sound a warning bell about conservatives' Project 2025, and Republicans suggest funding cuts to jurisdictions with legal cases against Trump.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

As WV’s jail crisis mounts, ‘Second Look’ policies gain traction

play audio
Play

Monday, April 8, 2024   

Amid overcrowding and unsafe conditions in West Virginia jails, state lawmakers introduced bills that would allow judges to take a 'second look' at an individual's original sentence.

If a court determines they no longer pose a threat to the community, the person could be released, placed on supervision, or receive a shortened sentence.

Sara Whitaker - criminal legal policy analyst with the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy - said West Virginia is one of the few states that has seen its prison population balloon over the past decade, despite declining crime.

She noted that as of last month, more than 500 people in the state were in jail awaiting transfer to a prison.

"As a result, eight out of 10 of the regional jails in the state were beyond capacity," said Whitaker, "with hundreds of people assigned to sleeping on the floor."

The bills failed to advance this session, but Whitaker said advocates are hopeful lawmakers will consider them next year.

The state's jails remain among the deadliest in the country, with at least 91 people losing their lives while incarcerated in the past few years.

According to the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, jail bills cost counties $45 million in 2022.

Nationwide, long sentences have led to growth in the number of older people behind bars.

Whitaker pointed out that 'Second Look' legislation could help the state avoid turning its prisons into nursing homes, and said the number of elderly people in prison has tripled in the past two decades.

"In 2019, West Virginia had to open a dementia unit in one of its prisons," said Whitaker. "There are hospice units across multiple prisons. And experts predict that this is just only going to get worse."

Whitaker added that 'Second Look' policies also offer a way to correct past racial injustice in the criminal legal system.

Black people incarcerated in West Virginia are four times more likely than white people to be serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole, and five times as likely to be serving a life-without-parole sentence.




get more stories like this via email

more stories
Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, 22 states have passed laws to protect or expand access to abortion.

Health and Wellness

play sound

Nebraska physicians and their patients have been dealing with the state's 12-week abortion ban since it went into effect just over a year ago…


Environment

play sound

West Virginia and other Appalachian states are littered with hundreds of "zombie mines," abandoned mines neither producing coal nor undergoing reclama…

Health and Wellness

play sound

Ohio advocates said the Biden administration's new Title IX regulations better protect victims of sexual assault, even as a group of states …


Environment

play sound

Wildlife advocates say the current transition to clean energy will not only protect people in New Mexico communities, but also will have a huge …

A 2015 study by the Boston Federal Reserve Bank found the median net worth for white households in Greater Boston was $250,000, while for Black households it was just $8. Researchers are currently updating those findings. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

A Legislature-backed Commission on Poverty in Massachusetts aims to address the state's historic wealth gap. The commission will study demographic …

Social Issues

play sound

Teaching artists can now apply for grant funding centered on programs for older Wyomingites. The Creative Aging Project Grant, from the Wyoming Arts …

Social Issues

play sound

A new report finds New York's rising cost of living and having living-wage jobs are priority issues for young voters. Research shows a single …

 

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