The Times West Virginian

Local News

January 25, 2009

Running out of room

Drug courts one option in reducing prison overcrowding

FAIRMONT — As in many other states, the prison population in West Virginia is increasing quickly.

Although violent crimes are on the decline, the population of West Virginia’s prisons is quickly outgrowing the capacity of the state’s facilities, according to Joe Thornton, deputy secretary of the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, which is the agency that oversees the Division of Corrections.

Currently the state has room for 5,000 prisoners in state prisons. However, there are now 6,200 inmates who have been sentenced to terms in state prisons, Thornton said. That means there are 1,200 prisoners who should be confined to state prisons but are instead sitting in regional jails awaiting transfer to prisons when a bed opens up.

“It’s a matter of perspective, but I think we’re at a crisis level right now,” Thornton said. “And now were running out of space in the regional jails, too.”

And the problem is likely to get worse. According to Thornton, the number of those sentenced to serve terms in a state prison is predicted to rise to around 8,000 by 2012.

Gov. Joe Manchin has appointed a commission to study the overcrowding issue, Thornton said, and there are several solutions being discussed to deal with the overcrowding problem.

One of the possible solutions to the problem, and one that counties in the state are beginning to look at closely, is establishing drug courts. Drug courts are designed for non-violent offenders convicted of drug-related crimes, said Linda Richmond Artimez, director of mental hygiene for the West Virginia Supreme Court.

A criminal is placed in the drug-court system by a judge and is required to undergo treatment for addiction, Artimez said. The goal is to get the offender to change their lives and stay out of the criminal-justice system.

Text Only
Local News
  • Alecto executive to speak at chamber dinner

    The Marion County Chamber of Commerce’s 61st annual dinner is putting a spotlight on the future of Fairmont General Hospital.

    July 30, 2014

  • Alva Groves.JPG Remains of Korean War veteran coming home

    After 63 years, the remains of a Korean War veteran are coming home.
    Those remains are of Cpl. Alva Clifford Groves, of Four States, who lost his life during the Korean War. Groves will be brought home to West Virginia on Tuesday, Aug. 5.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • $5,000 allocated to Korean War Veterans Memorial

    The Korean War Veterans Memorial in Marion County is closer to completion thanks to an allocation from the county commission.

    July 30, 2014

  • Fairmont man arrested on heroin charges

    A Fairmont man has been arrested on heroin charges.

    July 30, 2014

  • Ronald Mersky-EG.JPG Landfill safety taught at workshop

     Educators from around the state started a three-day workshop to learn more about recycling.
    The Marion County Recycling and Litter Control, and Project ALERT partnered with West Virginia University and NASA IV & V Facility to host “Marion County, West Virginia, Earth and Beyond” workshop.
    On Tuesday, educators learned more about recycling solid waste material properly.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • FirstEnergy ending retiree health care subsidies Dec. 31

    he end is drawing near for FirstEnergy Corp.’s health care subsidies for retirees.
    As of Jan. 1, 2015, FirstEnergy will no longer provide subsidized health care for retirees. Todd Meyers, spokesman for Mon Power, which is one of the utility companies under FirstEnergy, said this was a complex decision.
    “It’s a difficult thing, I know, but health care costs have skyrocketed in this country and many companies have had to unfortunately trim back on health care,” he said.

    July 30, 2014

  • Alecto plans changes for FGH

    Fairmont General Hospital’s sales proceedings are moving forward with the approval of Alecto Healthcare Services Fairmont LLC’s Certificate of Need (CON) by the West Virginia Healthcare Authority July 21.
    In West Virginia, a CON is required of all health care providers before they add or expand health care services, exceed the capital expenditure threshold of $3,048,803, obtain medical equipment that is valued at $3,048,803 or developing or acquiring

    July 30, 2014

  • City wooding door -ts.jpg City needs ‘room to grow’

     Fairmont city officials and staff boarded a city bus Tuesday to take tours of three potential sites for a new Municipal Building Complex.
    One of the sites was the Huntington Bank on Adams Street downtown, followed by the City Center building (also known as the old Post Office) and the Masonic Temple on Jefferson Street. While the Huntington Bank building currently houses both Huntington Bank and additional tenants, the City Center building and the Masonic Temple are both currently vacant. The city currently owns the Masonic Temple; if chosen, the other two properties would need to be purchased from their present owners.

    July 30, 2014 9 Photos

  • Fairmont man sentenced for sexual assault, burglaries

    A Fairmont man will serve three to 35 years in prison for sexually assaulting a juvenile and for nighttime burglaries.
    Matthew Allen Martin, 26, of Fairmont, entered a plea agreement with the state Tuesday. He pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl and two counts of burglary.

    July 30, 2014

  • FGH sales proceedings move forward

    Fairmont General Hospital’s sales proceedings are moving forward with the approval of Alecto Healthcare Services Fairmont LLC’s Certificate of Need by the West Virginia Healthcare Authority July 21.

    July 29, 2014

Featured Ads
TWV Video Highlights
NDN Editor's Picks
House Ads