Criminal Justice

August 19, 2020 by WVCBP
Rick Wilson: Jail Overcrowding in the Time of COVID-19

Charleston Gazette-Mail - Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, in the unimaginably distant days of springtime, somebody came up with the slogan “West Virginia: Practicing social distancing since 1863.” It made it to a T-shirt. Read the full op-ed. There’s some truth to that, although we didn’t prove to be as immune to the disease as…

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August 17, 2020 by WVCBP
Advocates Say Urgent Action Needed to Stop COVID-19 Outbreak in Jails

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   Contact: Lida Shepherd at lshepherd@afsc.org or (304) 356-8428 Download PDF here. Charleston, WV – With a full blown outbreak of COVID-19 looming in the state’s regional jails, advocates reiterate the call to magistrates, circuit court judges, and prosecutors to use the full force of the new bail law to slow the spread of…

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August 11, 2020 by Quenton King
As Population Surpasses Capacity, Western Regional Jail is an Increasing Burden on County Budgets

This post is co-authored by Bryan Phillips, the WVCBP’s Summer Research Associate West Virginia’s regional jail population has been growing for years at a cost to both inmate safety and county budgets. Between 2010 and 2019, the average jail population increased by 30 percent. The average daily population statewide has exceeded total jail capacity for eight of the last nine years,…

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July 28, 2020 by Quenton King
Jail Bookings Dropped during Initial Months of COVID-19 Emergency, but Momentum is Reversing

This post is co-authored by Bryan Phillips, the WVCBP's Summer Research Associate As the Huttonsville Correctional Center outbreak and numerous outbreaks around the country have demonstrated, jails and prisons are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 transmission. Earlier analyses looked at the overall jail and prison population reduction in the state and the change in arrest rates in Charleston, WV in the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic.…

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June 22, 2020 by Quenton King
Exploring Police Spending in West Virginia

This post is co-authored by Bryan Phillips, Summer Research Associate The slogan “defund the police,” acknowledges an emerging sentiment that state and local governments have spent and are currently spending too much on law enforcement and not enough on social services, mental health, housing, and education. Research suggests that spending on these and other upstream factors can lessen inequality within communities and reduce…

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June 12, 2020 by WVCBP
Drastic Drop in Arrests During COVID-19 Crisis

This post is authored by Ryan Brij Stewart, the WVCBP's 2020 Summer Research Associate with the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium in Poverty. He studies Government and Philosophy at Hamilton College. With the emergence of COVID-19 over the past several months, various systems of criminal justice in West Virginia have been forced to adjust their practices…

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June 10, 2020 by Seth DiStefano
COVID-19 Outbreaks in Prisons and Jails Threaten the Health of Rural Communities

The recent COVID-19 outbreak at Huttonsville Correctional Center shines a light on why universal and periodic testing of incarcerated individuals and staff at correctional facilities combined with policies to reduce incarceration are so important to protect the health of rural communities during a pandemic. Lack of adequate COVID-19 testing within correctional facilities caught up with…

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May 19, 2020 by Seth DiStefano
COVID-19 Testing Not Keeping Up with New Incarceration in WV Regional Jails

West Virginia’s regional jails, like correctional facilities around the country, are at greater risk of a COVID-19 outbreak. Social distancing in a prison setting is not possible. West Virginia’s regional jails see a daily flow of staff and newly incarcerated persons in and out of facilities that operate at the edges of being overcrowded. Combined…

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May 6, 2020 by Ted Boettner, Seth DiStefano
COVID-19 Reforms in West Virginia are Reducing Incarceration but More Action Needed

It has been well demonstrated that jails and prisons are incubators and amplifiers of diseases and infections because of the tight quarters of correctional facilities. This makes combatting the Coronavirus through "social distancing" and other measures nearly impossible. To that end, West Virginia has taken some measures to slow the spread of the Coronavirus within…

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March 12, 2020 by WVCBP
Guest Post: WV Legislature Advances Proactive Criminal Justice Reforms

Editor's Note: This blog post was guest authored by Lida Shepherd, program director for the American Friends Service Committee and all-around wonder woman. With jails and prisons twenty-five percent over capacity and county and state budgets stretched thin, the West Virginia legislature made significant strides this session to reduce the impact the criminal justice system…

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