WV prison bill advances through committee - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

WV prison bill advances through committee

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's prison reform bill has cleared its first major hurdle, passing the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The committee voted unanimously Wednesday to advance the legislation to the Finance Committee before it goes to a vote by the full Senate.

Along with education reform, prison reform is the highest profile issue on Tomblin's agenda.

The wide-ranging bill attempts to ease overcrowding in prisons by increasing supervision and drug testing following release and reducing the number of inmates who are returned to prison for minor parole or probation violations.

Some senators warned that if the bill did not pass, the state could be sued by prisoners because of the overcrowding. In other states, this has led to courts ordering a certain number of prisoners to be immediately released.