CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Criminals whose parole or probation have been revoked have cost West Virginia at least $168 million in higher prison expenditures over the past five years, according to researchers for the Council of State Governments Justice Center.
"Recidivism is costing West Virginia money as we speak," Carl Reynolds, senior legal and policy adviser for the Justice Center, told members of the Legislative Oversight Committee on Regional Jails and Corrections on Monday.
From 2007 to 2011, there were 2,506 parole revocations, 2,389 probation revocations and 591 community corrections revocations, the researchers found.
With average additional time served ranging from 1.57 years to 1.87 years per inmate, the revocations cost the state $168.2 million -- and that's assuming the lowest cost of $48.80 a day to house Division of Corrections inmates in state regional jails.
More than half of the revocations were for technical violations, Reynolds said. That usually means possession of drugs or alcohol, failure to report to the parole or probation officer, or failure to report a change of residence or work status.
Only 21 percent of revocations were because of new criminal charges, he said.
Also, Reynolds said, the number of inmates being released after serving their full sentence is up 33 percent, with many opting to "max out" rather than seeking parole.