West Virginia House Passes Bill For Jailing Probationers

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – West Virginia’s House has backed letting judges send people to jail for up to six months for an initial probation violation, an increase from 60 days currently.

The bill, approved on a 79-19 vote, would allow judges to revoke probation on any subsequent violation and send the individual back to finish any time left on his or her criminal sentence.

The current law allows up to 120 days for a second violation and revoking probation for a third.

Delegate Joe Canestraro, lead sponsor, says it gives judges more latitude under the change requested by a prosecutor.

Delegate Mike Pushkin says people already lose probation if they commit a new crime, and the bill runs contrary to lawmakers’ 2013 effort to reduce jail overcrowding with people convicted of low-level, non-violent crimes.