"The last thing we want to do is have an incident in a correctional facility . . . where the courts would come in and order the state to do something," he told the committee.
Pizatella assured senators that the governor is committed to funding the startup costs for the program. That includes about $3 million this year for post-release substance abuse treatment programs, and $500,000 for various training programs.
The governor is also committed to additional $5.5 million annual appropriations through 2018, Pizatella said. He called that a tremendous investment, citing Justice Center projections of $116 million of initial savings on prison costs through accelerated probation and reduced recidivism.
"We think this is a tremendous opportunity for the Legislature and for the state to solve this problem once and for all," he said.
The bill advanced Wednesday with only minor changes.
One amendment clarifies that when program participants are sent to regional jails for brief "shock treatment" sentences for technical violations of probation, parole or drug court policies, the state -- and not the host county -- will pay the incarceration costs.
The bill, one of Tomblin's key proposals for the 2013 session, now goes to the Senate Finance Committee.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.