Westmoreland County Prison nears its capacity
The inmate population at Westmoreland County Prison is growing rapidly.
Warden John Walton on Monday told members of the county's prison board that the jail is nearing capacity.
“Our population is up drastically,” Walton said.
On Monday, 615 inmates were assigned to the jail. Though the facility has a capacity of 701 inmates, there were only a few open beds available.
Walton said that if inmate numbers continue to rise, newcomers will have to be housed in areas dedicated to booking, inmate labor staff, protective custody and the disciplinary unit.
“We have the beds, so we're still functioning OK. It's the highest we've been in a long time,” Walton said.
In May, the jail averaged 572 inmates. During 2012, an average of 529 inmates were detained at the 21-year-old facility in Hempfield.
Walton said 104 new inmates were committed in the past week. A majority of those were jailed for not appearing in court.
Walton said 65 new inmates were detained on bench warrants from county judges.
The prison population last spiked in October 2012, when more than 630 inmates were housed at the facility.
Last year, inspectors from the National Institute of Corrections recommended to county officials that the prison board address potential overcrowding.
Originally, the facility's capacity was 450 inmates. When its population spiked a decade ago, officials started adding second bunks to cells to increase the capacity to its limit.
The population hit a high mark in 2006 when a record 641 inmates were housed.
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 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.
- Hempfield man dies in single-vehicle accident
- 2 Hempfield Area students charged with sexting
- Murrysville woman apologizes for scholarship fund theft
- Seton Hill student tells how Pa. Gov. Wolf’s tax plan will hurt her
- Donors’ generosity allows Clairview School girls to get fancy for prom
- Jeannette’s Monsour Medical Center demolition costs might go down
- Jeannette police say 5 people caught trespassing on grounds
- Police seek public help with East Huntingdon store thefts
- Hempfield bicyclist who brought rock, knives into court office charged
- $3.5M glass sculpture’s story begins, ends in rural community of Dunbar
- Electrical malfunction blamed for April 17 fire that destroyed home in Mt. Pleasant Township