Under state law, where inmates' sentences are reduced by one day for each day of good time credit, the time period between initial parole eligibility and maxing out -- which imposes no post-release supervision -- can be very narrow, he said.
"At some point, people are deciding, "You know what? I'm not even going to go to the parole board. I'm going to sit it out for nine months and walk away," Reynolds said.
The lack of post-prison supervision is a factor in increasing recidivism rates.
"More people are maxing out and leaving with no supervision," Reynolds said.
He said the Justice Center anticipates two more meetings with state officials, one for a final review of data collected on the inmate population, and ultimately a final session to propose policy options to be part of the agenda for the 2013 legislative session.
In May, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, Supreme Court Chief Justice Menis Ketchum and ranking legislative leaders requested that the Justice Center study West Virginia's criminal justice system to determine ways to reduce severe overcrowding in state prisons and regional jails.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.