Any out-of-state facilities for state prisoners would have to be accredited by the American Correctional Association, and provide all programs and services offered at in-state prisons, Rubenstein said.
Earlier this year, state legislators passed a law with accelerated parole and early-release provisions. Other steps the Division of Corrections is taking to relieve overcrowding, Rubenstein said, include:
• Opening the Salem Correctional Center in the location of the former Industrial Home for Youth, housing 400 inmates.
• Adding 56 beds at St. Mary's Correctional Center.
• Completing water and sewer system improvements at Lakin Correctional Center, which will allow it to house 70 more female inmates.
• Expanding the Charleston Work Release Center into the Charleston Correctional Center, increasing capacity from 68 to 120 beds.
"We've got some additional inmate beds coming on," Rubenstein told the Legislative Oversight Committee on Regional Jails and Corrections at Monday's meeting.
Laird worries that the additional prison beds will create the "optical illusion" that the inmate population is going down, even if the requirements of the law passed this year, known as the Justice Reinvestment Act, are not being fully implemented.Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.