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Correctional Population Forecast--2003 Update

NCJ Number
Theresa K. Lester M.A.; Stephen M. Haas Ph.D.
Date Published
March 2004
8 pages
This report provides an update as to the performance of West Virginia’s current correctional population forecast, providing correctional forecast projections under the new forecast begun in July 2002.
Forecasting trends and changes in the States’ correctional populations is seen as an important tool to assist policymakers, and therefore the performance and accuracy of the correctional population forecast is vital. West Virginia’ Correctional Population Forecast has been viewed as remarkably accurate in the past with a small rate of difference between the forecast and the actual population. This report provides an update as to the performance of the current correctional forecast based on a new forecast which began in July 2002. The report examines the steady increase in new commitments, commitment trends by type, trends in maximum sentences, and the increase in releases and parole hearings. Selected findings include: (1) the State’s prison population continued to increase in 2003; (2) given current trends, the prison population is forecasted to continue growing to 5,853 inmates in 2007; (3) the number of commitments increased by an average of 12.0 percent from 1993-2003; (4) murder and robbery continue to be the offense categories treated most harshly in terms of average maximum sentences and these categories also represented a decreasing percentage of admission in 2002; (5) parole grants have remained stable over the past 2 years; and (6) there was a 10.2 percent increase in the percentage of offenders released from 2002-2003. In summary, toward the end of 2002 and in 2003 the forecast projected higher prison population numbers than actually existed. Graphs and tables