It would be challenging to explain why supervised release and substance abuse treatment is actually an economic issue - that it saves taxpayer money and increases the chances that a former prisoner will get his life back together.
Worse yet, what if a non-violent offender commits a serious crime after being released early?
That's bound to happen, and when it does, a political opponent may seize that opportunity.
House Democrats badly want Republicans to come along with them on prison reform. If it's a bipartisan bill, both political parties have cover when the "soft on crime" bomb is lobbed.
The practical reality is that the concept of more treatment and supervision makes sense.
It's working in Texas of all places, which is notoriously tough on crime.
West Virginia must do something about prison overcrowding. If not, there may be a vote coming on whether to spend $200 million to build a new prison.
Nobody in either political party wants to make that call.
Kercheval is host of TalkLine, broadcast by the MetroNews Statewide Radio Network from 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday. The show can be heard locally on WCHS 580 AM.