Fayette committee to investigate direction of county's prison
A Fayette County group that is exploring ways to improve prison operations on Thursday discussed possible locations for a new jail.
County Commissioner Al Ambrosini organized the panel in November. Its members meet monthly to report on progress individual teams have made regarding ways to improve prison operations.
The group's recommendations — which will include suggestions for everything from implementing mental health and drug and alcohol programs to building a prison — are to be presented to the prison board by the end of the year, Ambrosini said.
Leader Jim Killinger said the architectural team met with three firms that specialize in building prisons. All recommended that the county move quickly, if it intends to build a prison, because costs will only increase.
“We have to find property, and we have to find it now,” Killinger said.
Killinger said each firm nixed the idea of renovating the existing, overcrowded 124-year-old prison located behind the courthouse in Uniontown.
“They just shook their heads at us,” Killinger said. “They've been in that prison. It's not cost-effective.”
Controller Sean Lally, a member of the group, identified the former Army Reserve Center on Route 21, across from Uniontown Hospital, as a possible site. He sent a letter to the Army's Reserve Installation Management Directorate seeking to secure for the county sole-source bidding rights.
He emphasized that commissioners would have to approve any attempt to acquire the property, with his letter serving only as a first step.
The county has explored the idea of building a prison for more than a decade.
One study, completed in 2001, estimated renovation costs to house up to 750 inmates at $28.5 million. By 2004, cost for the same plan had risen to $36.8 million.
The county jail was designed to hold 66 inmates. Through renovations over the years and the addition of an annex, it can now accommodate 282 inmates.
To alleviate overcrowding, the county pays rental fees to house inmates in neighboring counties' jails. Fayette spent $710,000 in 2012 on those costs, Lally said.
Other options aimed at reducing overcrowding have included a proposal to establish an adult day reporting center to give judges an alternative to prison sentences. The program is on hold while commissioners determine whether the courts will use the program.
Liz Zemba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Connellsville, Mt. Pleasant fireworks postponed until Sunday
- Funeral planned for Connellsville teen who died in crash
- Investigation into dropped baby at Uniontown Hospital continues
- Connellsville fireworks display back to riverbank
- Pam Porterfield: Church events, family reunions, benefits abound in Fayette County
- Day-old baby dropped at Uniontown hospital by nurse
- Boy, 5, in stable condition after fall from window in Fayette County
- Uniontown man gets 15-30 years for raping 2 girls
- Rockin’ Ribfest in Connellsville on weekend
- Action sought on medical marijuana by Connellsville couple
- Uniontown natives’ charity honors friend wounded in Afghanistan