Published Fri, Feb 24, 2012 5:18 am Dateline
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin wants a national group to help West Virginia ease prison crowding.
Tomblin tells The Associated Press that he's asking for a review by the Justice Center at the Council of State Governments.
The nonpartisan center analyzes a state's criminal justice system and consults the latest research. It then recommends ways to save money that can then be reinvested to improve public safety.
This approach helped Texas avoid building eight new prisons and save $440 million. Justice Center reviews inspired legislation enacted last year in Ohio and North Carolina.
A state must show bipartisan support across its three branches of government to be eligible for a review. West Virginia lawmakers are considering several proposals aimed at inmate crowding. Tomblin says he'd rather await the center's recommendations.