As the nation questions, the purpose of the American justice gadget — to punish or to rehabilitate — West Virginia emerged from the shadows to sign up for the communique at some point of the 2019 legislative consultation.
The extreme demanding situations human beings face after leaving jail can substantially restriction their ability to effectively reintegrate back into groups — from getting entry to sustainable employment to basic requirements like food. A loss of assets turns into a mainly big barrier for ladies, as they often grow to be the number one caretakers of their youngsters upon leaving jail.
According to The Sentencing Project, our nation is the 29th maximum in terms of mass incarceration, with 372 of every a hundred,0000 people in the back of bars. While it can fall simply barely below facts for everything of America, West Virginia’s incarceration price continues to be substantially better than international locations just like the United Kingdom, Italy and Canada.
The cost burden associated with incarceration is making a dent in West Virginia’s price range for spending. In 2017, West Virginia spent $191 million of its standard fund on corrections. This parent counted for four.5 percent of the country’s total popular fund spending. Additionally, among 1986 and 2017, the state has visible a 307 percent growth in corrections spending, forcing tradeoffs in different areas such as training, which has visible a 14 percent decrease over the identical term.
National efforts toward criminal justice reform (just like the First Step Act) are igniting waves of trade in state legislatures throughout America. Here within the Mountain country, the 2019 legislative session proposed and exceeded numerous bills to improve reentry stories for previously incarcerated human beings and enhance the groups they’re getting into.
West Virginia officials have recounted the want for criminal justice reform with the Expungement Bill (SB 152), the Easy I.D. Bill (HB 2083) and the SNAP bill (HB 2459), and, at the same time as all of those bills are supplying treasured assets to previously incarcerated human beings, they aren’t sufficient.
For instance, earlier than the introduction of the SNAP bill, West Virginia turned into considered one of most effective 3 closing states that endured the lifetime ban on SNAP blessings imposed via provisions inside the Welfare Act of 1996.
House Bill 2459 ended the lifetime ban on SNAP benefits for non-violent drug offenders. This invoice has been passed by means of both the House and Senate in addition to authorized by means of the governor. Senate Bill 152 defines who are eligible to get their non-violent information expunged and what the timeframe seems like for while that could occur. This invoice has been surpassed with the aid of both the House and Senate and signed into regulation with the aid of the governor. House Bill 2083 presents a government-recognizable I.D. To non-violent offenders upon leaving prison, legitimate for ninety days. This bill as properly has passed each the House and Senate and was accredited via the governor.
Today, we applaud the legislature for its compassionate, commonplace experience technique to reform, however, it’s vital we do not rest on those payments alone. While West Virginia has visible development for formerly incarcerated humans in this legislative consultation, there is greater that may be carried out with continued efforts and aid. Because of the legislature’s popularity of the want for criminal justice reform, greater problems can be introduced and discussed for evaluation which includes decreasing minimal sentences, reforming bail, reducing teenagers within the juvenile justice device, and many others.