Employee transfers to State Correctional Institution at Benner Township begin
As state officials gathered in Centre County on Monday to ceremoniously open the $200 million, 2,000-inmate State Correctional Institution at Benner Township, the corrections department confirmed that employee transfers have begun from state prisons in Hempfield and Cresson.
“Some staff reported there a few weeks ago and another 100 of all classifications began there (Monday),” said Susan McNaughton, press secretary for the corrections department.
McNaughton noted that inmate transfers from SCI Greensburg and Cresson to the state-of-art facility have not begun. She anticipates those transfers will begin in mid-April.
Public tours at the state prison near Bellefonte began on Monday and will continue from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel announced in January that the state prisons in Westmoreland and Cambria counties would close by June 30 with the opening of Benner.
A contingent of state, county and local representatives from Westmoreland and Cambria, including state Sens. Kim Ward, a Westmoreland Republican, and John Wozniak, a Cambria Democrat, unsuccessfully attempted to stall the Western Pennsylvania prison closings to thwart the economic impact to both areas. Wetzel maintains it costs the state $110 a day to house an inmate in the Hempfield facility, while the cost at Benner will be $78 a day.
The closures are expected to save the state $23 million annually.
Ward estimated when the prison in Hempfield closes in June, eliminating 370 jobs, the local economy and municipal governments will lose an estimated $20 million in revenue.
The Hempfield lockup at one time housed as many as 1,000 male inmates, but its current population is about 800.
Cresson formerly housed about 1,400 prisoners but now has fewer than 1,000.
SCI Greensburg opened in 1969 after it was constructed as the Westmoreland County Jail in the 1960s.
Once the prison closes, the state Department of General Services will take control of the property and try to market it.
Ward said she plans to ask Gov. Tom Corbett to include money in his next budget to demolish the facility, located off Route 119. Without the demolition, she believes the property will be harder to market.
Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Extremes in weather hurt crops in Westmoreland
- Westmoreland torture-slaying convict Smyrnes says death row isolation too cruel
- Hempfield murderer serving life sentence promises restitution when he’s released
- Police: Scottdale man had child porn on computer
- Sutersville ready to sell former church
- Scottdale chamber’s Community Yard Sale to be held Saturday
- More than 100 stamp bags confiscated in Greensburg; 4 arrested
- Jeannette man arrested in city shooting
- Man charged with hitting girlfriend with car in East Huntingdon reaches plea agreement
- Hempfield joins county land bank
- Hempfield cyclist to cool wheels in jail during appeal