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Prison's alternative housing chief out

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By Michael Hasch
Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013, 11:33 p.m.

The Allegheny County Jail's administrator of alternative housing for inmates left the county payroll on Tuesday.

The departure of Ruth J. Howze, whose official title was administrator of reintegration and alternative housing, was all Allegheny County spokeswoman Amie M. Downs would confirm because it is a “personnel” issue.

Downs would not say whether Howze had been fired or voluntarily left her position. No replacement has been named, Downs said.

Neither Howze nor Warden Orlando Harper could be reached for comment.

Downs would not say whether Howze's leaving was related to a decision the Allegheny County Common Pleas Court judges made in May to take over the assignment of jail inmates because of concerns about some of them being placed in alternative housing such as halfway houses.

The order was signed by Judge Jeffrey A. Manning.

Howze, whose annual salary was $64,903, was hired as administrator of alternative housing and the jail's collaborative coordinator, a countywide effort to assist inmates with successful returns to the community and to their families.

She was responsible for all inmates who are released to community corrections/work release and facilitating the county reintegration initiatives to improve public safety and reduce recidivism, according to the Allegheny County Bureau of Corrections' annual report filed in the months following her hiring in 2006.

The report stated that Howze had worked in the field of human services for more than 20 years, primarily in the area of those with special needs such as convicts, those with behavioral health issues and HIV or AIDS.

Michael Hasch is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7820 or

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