An estimated 200 to 250 inmates would return to the old Moundsville state prison, if a proposal to expand West Virginia's prison industry program is approved. The program as presented this past Monday sounds good, but we've got some reservations about some aspects of it.
As described by Bill Duncil, the state's deputy corrections commissioner, the inmates would be bused in daily to a 40,000 square-foot building on the grounds on the Civil War-era fortress-style prison. Inmates working there now make mattresses, operate a print shop and create wood products, but officials envision a program like the one California operates, in which inmates make wiring harnesses for F-16 fighters.
Prisoners would be paid, but would receive only 20 percent of their wages, to be put in a savings account until their release. The other portion would go to crime victims, inmates' families and to defraying the cost of their incarceration.