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Pennsylvania General Prison Talk, News, Introductions & Chit Chat Topics & Discussions relating to Prison & the Criminal Justice System in Pennsylvania that do not fit into any other Pennsylvania sub-forum category. Please feel free to also introduce yourself to other members in the state and talk about whatever topics come to mind that may not have anything to do with prison.

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Old 01-08-2017, 08:03 AM
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Thumbs up PA DOC announces closures for 2017

The Department of Corrections has announced that they will close two state prisons by June 30th of this year. The closures are in response to budgetary shortfalls and the declining state prison population.

Five prisons have been named as potentials for closure: Frackville, Retreat, Waymart, Mercer and Pittsburgh. The DOC will announce which two are closing on January 26th.

Prisoners at the selected facilities will have some input as to where they are sent. Certainly those who are currently housed due to an Incentive Based Transfer will be given some choices. Ultimately, the Office of Population Management will make the final decisions in every case.

The best source of information is at the DOC website:
http://www.cor.pa.gov/Pages/Prison-C...x#.WHJT62so6M8
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Old 01-10-2017, 05:12 AM
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Yes, I have been reading the news on the Internet. I am in an area of one of the SCIs that may be closing and I know there are a lot of COs that I see every single day going for coffee between shifts at the local convenience stores and I have a neighbor that is a CO at the SCI that may close near us. I have been avoiding talking to him about what may happen. He owns his house and is single so it may be easier for him to transfer or get a job at another prison but the closest prison to us is over 45 miles away. Now he only has to drive about 7 miles to work.
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Old 01-15-2017, 07:33 AM
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Staff displacement is only one of many factors which will be considered. The DOC has already pledged to re-assign staff. The PSCOA will ensure that the contract is upheld. (Transfers are part of the contract.) I believe they've also instituted a hiring freeze, and I suspect they will offer some retirement incentives.

A lot more weight will be placed on specialized units and the overall cost savings potential of each facility, which is based almost entirely on infrastructure needs. That bridge leading into SCI retreat is condemned and will cost millions to replace, for example.

The Senate Judiciary Committee and Majority Policy Committee are holding a joint hearing on January 23rd, prior to the actual opening of the 2017-18 session. The Prison Society has been invited to testify and I was "nominated" to be a representative. Wish me luck.
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Old 01-28-2017, 05:22 AM
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So the official decision is in now. All are staying open except for
SCI Pitts.

I know my neighbor is very happy to say the least.
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Old 01-29-2017, 07:46 AM
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We attended the four-hour hearing and provided our testimony. In many ways, it was merely a ritual for everyone to vent; the Senate could not override the Governor on this.

The DOC presented the longest testimony. Their panel had all of its facts ready and was able to answer every question put to them. Our prison population has been declining for years even though crime is down. (Not going to cite all the sources here.) Each year, the DOC makes projections on the population based on trends and pending legislation -- they are already 500 inmates below where they expected to be in 2017. It is simply time to concentrate resources by reducing the number of facilities.

The PSCOA presented their objections on behalf of their nearly-10,000 members. They include: risks related to crowding, difficulty in transferring officers to prisons far from home, and the short notice given. The DOC has stated that every officer will be offered a transfer. As many as 60 DOC employees retire each month. The remaining facilities will operate at around 109% of their "emergency capacity," which has happened before.

We testified on the potential impact on inmates and families. We took questions about inmate concerns related to programming setbacks, visiting and crowding. We encouraged the legislature to continue to work on reducing the population by such avenues as: letting the recently invalidated mandatory sentences "die," expediting the release of JLWOPers, creating an alternative to LWOP for Murder-2, removing the huge restrictions on RRRI and SIP, and making the PBPP more transparent.

The five counties facing the potential closures all testified. It was funny for two reasons: the senators were leaving one at a time, and each county insisted it would be the hardest hit by a closure. By the time the hearing ended, a panel of about 20 senators was down to five.

I think we'll see another closing in 2018.
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Old 02-12-2017, 08:02 AM
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Now that SCI Pittsburgh has been set for closure, I will close this thread. A new thread about the progress of the closure is here:

http://www.prisontalk.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=698576.

Please post in this new thread.
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