Bid specifications require that any out-of-state facilities be accredited by the American Correctional Association, and provide all programs and services that are offered in state prisons, including educational, job training, and treatment and counseling programs.
Rubenstein said the concept is to allow inmates placed out-of-state to receive the necessary training and treatment programs required to become parole eligible - programs that are not available while those inmates are housed in Regional Jails.
"Hopefully, we're looking at this as something temporary during this stage of the overcrowding reduction," he said.
Passed by the Legislature in April, the state is currently enacting provisions of the Justice Reinvestment Act, intended to curb the state's growing inmate population by expanding community corrections and programs intended to reduce recidivism.
Assignment to an out-of-state prison would be voluntary, and inmates would have to sign a document waiving their rights under the West Virginia Constitution's banishment clause. That provision, which dates back to the original state Constitution, prohibits involuntarily sending inmates to other states, and apparently was intended to assure that residents could not be banished from West Virginia for their participation in the Civil War.
As with all state bid requests, the division may opt not to procedure with awarding a contract once the bid or bids are received, Rubenstein said.
"We'll see what the bids come in, and if it's financially feasible at that time to move forward," he said.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.