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Correctional Population Forecast -- 2001 Update

NCJ Number
Laura Hutzel
Date Published
January 2002
4 pages
This paper discusses West Virginia's correctional population.
West Virginia's correctional population increased by more than 600 inmates between January 2000 and December 2001. Given current trends, the growth is expected to continue, reaching a total inmate population of 4,936 by the end of 2005. Approximately one-quarter of new commitments were violent offenders. An apparent increase in readmitted parolees may be the result of better data collection, not a true increase. Sentence length fluctuated by an average of 10.6 percent per year for the past 4 years. The paper notes that this was typical of States with no standards for sentencing, where sentences varied greatly by sentencing judge. In 2000, there were noticeable increases in sentences for robbery and parole revocation. Offenders released to parole remained relatively stable--76.8 percent of releases in 1999 versus 73.8 percent in 2000. Fewer sex offenders were released by discharge -- 54.8 percent in 1999 compared to 44.6 percent in 2000. Parole grant rates, which have declined since 1999, are being monitored for their impact on the prison population. As of January 2002, 59.2 percent of the prison population were serving time for murder/manslaughter, sex offenses, robbery, and/or assault. Figures, table