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Old 05-18-2018, 09:16 AM
fbopnomore fbopnomore is offline
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Default Graterford Inmates moving soon?

An article in today's Philadelphia Inquirer discusses the imminent move of inmates from Graterford Prison to State Correctional Institution Phoenix (next to Graterford), including the existing programs that will be cancelled.

"Pennsylvania's newest, most expensive prison is finally ready - and inmates are dreading it"

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Old 05-20-2018, 07:35 AM
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Sadly, the article can only present the two "sides" of every issue raised and can't help readers draw accurate conclusions.

I walked through SCI Phoenix a couple months ago as they put the final touches on the paint. It's truly spectacular. For example: it has air conditioning, the plumbing WORKS, it's bright, it has more than 40 classrooms, it has a state-of-the-art medical suite, it has two spacious and beautiful visiting centers, it has more phones and kiosks on the units ...

We supported Phoenix because it would improve the quality of life for the prisoners through far better conditions of their confinement.

True, it's not the old single-structure where inmates can roam; it's now comprised of separate housing units and a centralized service building. True, it has thousands of cameras, electronic controls of doors and gates and controlled access -- just like every other prison in Pennsylvania.

Inmates aren't upset that they're moving to new, clean housing and better program spaces; they're upset because the new facility will feel more like a modern prison rather the old one they felt they could control. Welcome to the 21st Century.

The new Superintendent is coming over from SCI Benner, which was up until now the newest facility in Pennsylvania. She's an incredibly warm and caring person whom the inmates at Benner liked and respected. Superintendent Link has done a great job during her tenure at GFRD and we're confident that this paradigm will continue into Phoenix. The DOC has also temporarily assigned a Deputy Secretary to assist with the transition, and I know him to be an excellent administrator with a strong commitment to inmate welfare.

During the actual move, it would be impossible to continue the day-to-day routine, especially with programs. At some point, they have to "box up", move and unpack, and that's going to lead to discontinuity. Programs necessarily have to be suspended and then allocated new space, of which there's actually more, not less. Again, I walked through the facility. What will not exist at Phoenix is the use of old closets and hidden spaces for programs, and programs will likely have to share resources rather than claim them as their own. If a program doesn't continue after June 30th, it's because that's the last day of the DOC's fiscal (and program) year and decisions revolve around that date. But, those programs which are truly beneficial will always survive the cuts.

It would have been great in Philly.com hadn't imparted a negative spin in the article -- as they have done every time -- through their choice in interviewees and comments.
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