Prison questions, few answers
Published: Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, 8:57 p.m.
I, like many of you, was stunned by the recent announcement of the state's plan to close prisons in Greensburg and Cresson.
Corrections Secretary John Wetzel said the “stabilization” of the state's prison population made these closures possible. Yet according to the Department of Corrections' own annualized report, Pennsylvania's prisons added 5,000 new inmates over the past decade. That's an increase of 42 percent. How can the department predict that the prison population will “stabilize” or decline in the coming years when recent history suggests it will, in fact, increase dramatically?
The DOC has been forced to take various actions to accommodate the growing prison population over the past several years. Housing inmates in county prisons, installing modular units at existing facilities and transferring inmates to other states are but a few of the methods used to cope with a seeming shortage of space. Are these or any other practices still being used to handle inmate population overflow and, if so, what is the justification for continuing these methods in light of the closure announcement?
SCI Greensburg and SCI Cresson employ nearly 1,000 people. Will there be jobs offered at nearby facilities with a reasonable commute, or will there be relocation assistance available to those families forced to uproot their lives and move great distances to keep their jobs? Will the people currently waiting on hiring lists be “bumped” from those lists? Has the department performed an analysis regarding the economic impact of job losses on the surrounding businesses, schools, local governments, etc.?
To this point the department has yet to show, in my estimation, any cause or good reason to close these institutions. There remain too many questions with too few answers. The individuals and families affected by this rushed, hasty decision deserve much better.
The writer is a state representative in the 52nd Legislative District.
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.
- Choosing judges I
- Choosing judges II
- Us & them
- Prevailing wage downsides I
- Name game
- Forcing their beliefs
- Valid comparison?
- Prevailing wage downsides II
- Lies and disrespect I taught …
- Fuel tax increase