Since the start of the state's pre-trial release program, regional jail spending has gone up in 3 of the 5 pilot counties. Since 2011, spending has increased in all counties but one.
Tina Sarver (left) leads a weekly bond review session at the Western Regional Day Report Center in downtown Huntington. Sarver and the panel are discussing which regional jail inmates could qualify for pretrial release.
Sarver is responsible for picking out low-level criminal defendants at the jail who can't post their relatively small bail to the court system. Upon Sarver's recommendation, many of them will appear before a magistrate, who will decide whether or not to release them from jail.
Cabell County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Chiles said the pretrial release program also serves as a filter for other inmates who may not belong in the Western Regional jail system.
Since 2009, five counties have started relatively unknown programs that allow low-level criminal defendants to be released from jail. Part of the aim is to curb regional jail spending, but jail bills are still on the rise.