Public News Service, Clay County Free Press, Mountain Messenger – A new West Virginia law requires magistrates and judges to set a hearing within five days for people who’ve been arrested for not showing up to a court hearing, not paying fines on time, or not following civil-court rulings.
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The reform comes at a time when jails across the Mountain State are overflowing. According to the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, one in eight people goes to jail because of a bench warrant.
Sara Whitaker, a criminal legal policy analyst with the Center, said the state’s track record for keeping jails safe amid overcrowding is dismal.