CHARLESTON, W.Va. - After unanimously passing Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's wide-ranging prison reform bill last week, the West Virginia Senate has passed another bill with similar aims.
The bill passed unanimously Tuesday would authorize counties to create supervised release programs for inmates awaiting trial, with the goal of reducing prison overcrowding.
All pretrial releases would be at the discretion of the court. The court would rely on standard risk assessment tests and would be advised by a local committee of prosecutors, law enforcement and defense attorneys. The bill allows the court to recoup supervision fees from released inmates.
The bill's lead sponsor, Sen. Samuel Cann, said the program follows a pilot project in Ohio County which has been very successful.
The bill had 15 co-sponsors, 14 of whom are Democrats.