Wednesday, January 25, 2017

6 Reasons Why SCI-Frackville Should Not Close

On Thursday, January 26, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections says they will reveal what 2 State Prisons they plan on closing to save budget costs.  Below is why Schuylkill County's SCI-Frackville should not be one of them to close.

On January 6th, the Governor, along with the Department of Corrections announced that they would close or reduce population of  2 State Prisons by the end of the June 2017.

Five prisons are under consideration for closure/population reduction: SCI Mercer in Mercer County, SCI Retreat in Luzerne County and SCI Frackville in Schuylkill County, SCI Waymart in Wayne County and SCI Pittsburgh in Allegheny County.

Legislators from their respective counties have been meeting and fighting to keep their local prisons, including our own in Schuylkill County.

Just this week, Senator Argall, Representative Goodman, Representative Knowles, Representative Tobash, Frank Zukas (President, Schuylkill Economic Development Corporation), (Bill Hanley, Senior Economic Development Specialist), and Champ Holman (Supervisor, Ryan Township) pleaded SCI-Frackville's case on why it should stay open during a hearing in Harrisburg.

Schuylkill County Legislators also presented a petition with over 5,000 names to Governor Wolf asking for SCI-Frackville not to be closed.

Prior to the announcement of those listed for possible closure, a study was done that provided in detail and compared each of the 5 prisons to each other on many different criteria.

Below are 5 reasons from that data on why SCI-Frackville should stay open compared the others.

1)  Newest Prison on the List

Out of the 5 prisons listed, SCI-Frackville is the newest

  • SCI-Frackville - Built 1987
  • SCI-Mercer - Built 1978
  • SCI-Pittsburgh - Built 1882
  • SCI-Retreat - Built 1938
  • SCI-Wayne - Built 1912


2)  Cheapest to Operate

Along with being the newest, that also means it helps keep their costs lower.  Based on the estimated Fiscal Year 17-18.  SCI-Frackville was listed at the bottom.


3)  Highest Level Security Prison on the List

This could be debated, but why would you want to close a higher level prison

  • SCI-Frackville - Level 4
  • SCI-Mercer - Level 2
  • SCI-Pittsburgh - Level 2
  • SCI-Retreat - Level 3
  • SCI-Wayne - Level 2


4)  Facility in the Best Condition on the List

In the study, the infrastructure was also compared between the 5 facilities.  This included Water, Sewer, Electrical, Heating and Cooling, and the condition of the buildings.

Out of the 5, SCI-Frackville was the only to have listed "Excellent" in every category.


5)  Next to Last in Upgrade Costs

Along with the facility being in the best condition on the list, that also means, it would need lesser upgrades and cost less to fix.

Out of the 5, SCI-Frackville was listed next to last in upgrade costs.

6)  Schuylkill County has the highest unemployment rate compared to the others on the list

The Pennsylvania Labor and Industry recently announced that Schuylkill County's unemployment is dropping but out of the 5 counties that would be affected by a prison closure, Schuylkill County is tied with another at the top of the list with highest rate. (Information was based on November 2016 statistics)

  • Schuylkill County - 5.7%
  • Luzerne County - 5.7%
  • Mercer County - 5.5%
  • Wayne County - 5.2%
  • Allegheny County - 4.8%

Check back with on Thursday after the announcement of what prisons will be affected.