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State inmate crowding study offering update

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia can ease prison and jail crowding by refocusing drug treatment efforts in the communities.

That's one emerging recommendation from a study of the state's crowding crisis by the Justice Reinvestment Initiative.

Project researchers updated state officials Monday and highlighted the role substance abuse plays in the criminal justice system.

The study has found that one in five people sent to prison committed drug-related offenses. Nearly two-thirds of inmates in prison after violating probation have substance abuse or addiction issues.

But the researchers say the probation or parole programs offer no substance-abuse services. They recommend changing that, while also improving services in prison and the state's day reporting centers.

The study suggests that West Virginia can reduce offenders committing new crimes by 30 percent with sufficient treatment services.


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