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West Virginia House passes bill affecting bail in misdemeanor cases


Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Members of the House of Delegates approved a measure Thursday that seeks to change guidelines for how magistrates in West Virginia set bond in certain misdemeanor cases.

House members approved House Bill 4511 by a margin of 94-4 Thursday afternoon and sent it to the Senate. The bill would more clearly define when magistrates should set a property or financial bail for defendants in misdemeanor cases, and when they should release defendants on their personal recognizance while their cases are pending in the court system.

House Judiciary Chairman John Shott, R-Mercer, the bill’s lead sponsor, said the bill was an attempt to relieve the financial burden of operating the state’s regional jail system.

It costs $48.25 per inmate per day to house someone in one of West Virginia’s regional jails, according to the state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.

In fiscal year 2016-17, a total of 47,328 people were incarcerated in regional jails in the Mountain State, and 40,127 of those admissions were people who were waiting to stand trial, according to data from the department.

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