Pre-sentence assessments required for state felons
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The state Supreme Court issued a new policy that will give judges more information about criminal defendants before they are sentenced.
Supreme Court Administrator Steve Canterbury announced Tuesday that the justices want convicted felons to have a risk and needs assessment test known as a "Level of Service -- Case Management Inventory (LS/CMI)."
"This assessment gives each judge objective information about the likelihood of the felon re-offending and what needs must be met to prevent such recidivism," Canterbury said in a press release. "It's another tool at the judge's disposal to help public safety."
County probation officers will administer the new assessments, Canterbury said.
"Since probation officers currently carry out investigations about felons and have contact with them and, often, their families, it's the best use of the court's resources to have probation officers administer the LS/CMI," he said. "Every felon will have this base-line assessment, however, whether there is a pre-sentencing investigation or not."
The LS/CMI tests will cost about $3 each. With about 8,000 convictions in the state in 2011, Supreme Court officials estimate that the tests will cost the court system about $25,000.