New law seeks to reduce overcrowding in prisons, Raleigh County looks to continue efficiency

A state-wide law that seeks to reduce jail overcrowding went into effect today.

The bill was passed by the West Virginia House and Senate and signed into law by the governor in March. It aims to expedite hearings for people arrested because of a bench warrant issued by a judge or magistrate.

In Raleigh County, significant money was being saved before the law was passed. According to Greg Duckworth, Raleigh County commissioner, much of that has to do because of the coordination between people in the judicial system.

“This year, we are projecting about 900,000 dollars under budget because of what these men and women do every Thursday morning,” He said. “Raleigh County is in a very unique position because we have this group of people are making a big deal for us.”

It costs approximately $48.25 per day to hold someone in prison. Under the new law, judges and magistrates are required to set hearings for people arrested on bench warrants within five days.

According to Duckworth, Raleigh County is already efficiently moving cases along.

“There are some department of corrections issues with overcrowding, there’s folks in the jail awaiting to go to a state facility, and they are still here,” Duckworth said. “But Raleigh County, and our team of people, are really working hard to keep overcrowding and the jail bill down.”

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