Pa. moving prisoners back from Virginia

    Pennsylvania officials are moving nearly 1,000 of its inmates from a Virginia prison. The inmates are being returned to Pennsylvania because of newly built inmate housing and a leveling-off of the prison population.

    The 1,000 prisoners were sent to Virginia facilities because of crowding om Pennsylvania’s prisons, said Susan McNaughton, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

    She said the population explosion was due to a series of police shootings in 2008 that resulted in a parole moratorium.

    “While individuals were still coming into the system, there was a pause in the paroling of individuals,” she said. “So we were kind of getting jammed up where the inmates were still coming in from the front door but they weren’t going out the back door–and that really just caused a spike in our population.”

    It cost Pennsylvania $62 per day for each inmate housed out of state, a total of about $22 million a year.

    McNaughton says the she expects all inmates to be back in-state by 2012.

    More than a thousand Pennsylvania inmates housed in a Michigan prison last year were brought back in May.

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