(01/09/2006)
West Virginia has one of the nation's smallest inmate populations, per-capita, but its rate of growth is among the most rapid.

The state's rate of lock-up is skyrocketing, even though the state's population is continuing to decline and it has been declared as having one of the nations lowest crime rates.

Now, the state needs a new 1,200-bed prison to ease crowding.

Since the price tag is estimated at $120 million, the contracting of a private prison has not been ruled out.

The state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety has issued a final report to lawmakers as their 60-day session begins this week.

Another proposal recommends the state fund three, 48-bed work camps to house its least-dangerous prisoners, at a cost of $1.2 million per camp.


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