Criminal Justice

June 8, 2023 by Sara Whitaker
New Law Requires Effective Notice for Capias Hearings

Huntington Herald-Dispatch - A law taking effect June 9 aims to help tackle the increasing number of capias arrests and reduce the state’s jail population. Read the full article. Passed in the 2023 legislative session, Senate Bill 633 establishes a uniform standard for addressing and streamlining capias arrests, also known as bench warrants, which have significantly increased…

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May 31, 2023 by Sara Whitaker
Jail Overcrowding Bill Goes Into Effect June 9, 2023

Throughout the 2023 legislative session, lawmakers spoke often about the ongoing state of emergency in West Virginia jails. To them, the crisis was the record-high staff vacancies within the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR). But people behind bars have been living in a state of emergency for years. In the last decade, West Virginia…

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May 20, 2023 by Sara Whitaker
‘Addicted to incarceration’: Advocates Say Correctional Understaffing Focus Misses Bigger Overpopulation Picture

Charleston Gazette-Mail, Huntington Herald-Dispatch - West Virginia corrections officials were eager to call attention to severe staffing shortages throughout their facilities in a state legislative committee meeting in which other items were on the agenda. Read the full article. “We didn’t want to be in front of you guys with an opportunity to speak without…

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March 30, 2023 by Sara Whitaker
Mass Incarceration 2023: A Report from the Legislature

During the 2023 regular legislative session, West Virginia lawmakers introduced more than 300 bills related to the criminal legal system. Nearly half of those bills created new criminal offenses or increased penalties for existing crimes. To a Hammer, Every Problem is a Nail One trend that emerged was lawmakers’ penchant for believing that the criminal…

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March 2, 2023 by Sara Whitaker
Senate Bill Would Double Down on Failed Drug Policies

On Tuesday, the Senate passed Senate Bill 547, a radical reimagining of the Controlled Substances Act that doubles down on decades of failed drug policies. West Virginia has been called ground zero of the drug overdose crisis. For the last decade, West Virginia has had the highest fatal overdose rate in the country–more than twice…

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February 27, 2023 by Rhonda Rogombe
Black Communities in West Virginia Know What Policies Could Make Their Lives Better. Now They Need Them to Happen.

Mountain State Spotlight, Fayette Tribune - As Katonya Hart stood outside of the House of Delegates chamber at the West Virginia Capitol,  a sparkly tiara fastened to her multicolored twists, the energy around her was undeniable.  Read the full article. A floor below, the women of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. moved about in coordinated…

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February 9, 2023 by Kelly Allen, Sara Whitaker, Rhonda Rogombe
A Recap of the First Half of the Legislative Session

With a relatively short 60-day legislative session, the bills that get considered—and the ones that don’t—tell us a lot about our lawmakers’ priorities. Now that we are exactly halfway through the 2023 session, the WVCBP team lends insight into what we’ve seen prioritized so far and what we would like to see prioritized during the…

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December 9, 2022 by Sara Whitaker
WV Program Mentors People Re-Entering Society After Prison

Public News Service - West Virginia's prison population has ballooned, and formerly incarcerated people face numerous obstacles when they are released. A Charleston-based program pairs them with mentors for one year, to help them successfully adjust and reorient their lives. Read the full article. Amber Blankenship, peer-entry program coordinator with the REACH Initiative, said most people…

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