Five thousand six hundred and seventy individuals signed petitions to keep the state prison in Frackville open, according to local legislators who spearheaded the effort.
In their letter to Governor Wolf and Secretary Wetzel accompanying the list of residents who signed the petition, Senator David G. Argall (R-Schuylkill/Berks), Representatives Neal Goodman (D-Schuylkill), Jerry Knowles (R-Berks/Carbon/Schuylkill), Mike Tobash (R-Schuylkill/Dauphin), Kurt Masser (R-Columbia/Montour/Northumberland) and Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon) reminded the Administration that Schuylkill County fought hard to land a state prison back in the late 1980s.
“We didn’t fight it, like other communities did,” the letter reads.
The legislators are not surprised by the outpouring of support from the community to keep SCI Frackville open.
“More than 5,000 local residents agree with what we’ve been saying all along: it doesn’t make sense to close down one of the most cost-efficient and newer prisons the state owns and operates.”
“The petition shows the Administration how important this prison is to our community,” Goodman said. “I thank everyone for stepping forward to have their voices heard.”
“Since this announcement was made, just a few weeks ago, I have heard from so many constituents about keeping SCI Frackville open, and I am glad so many have signed on to this petition we are sending to the governor,” Knowles said.
“I am very glad so many of our neighbors and friends are having their voices heard through this petition,” Tobash said. “This gathering of support is just one way we can demonstrate that SCI Frackville is an important part of our community.”
“I am glad to see so many people from our area care about keeping SCI Frackville open,” Masser said. “By signing this petition, people are sharing their concerns about public safety, and the well-being of our officers, and they support the governor not making any rash decisions to close this facility.”
“SCI Frackville is among the most modernized and efficient correctional facilities in our state,” said Heffley. “Closing this prison would be ill-advised and a detriment to the local community as well as public safety. There are other prisons across the state that are less efficient and should be considered for closure before this state-of-the-art facility.”
Closing their letter, the legislators remind Governor Wolf and Secretary Wetzel that the long-term costs of keeping SCI Frackville open are far lower than other facilities.
“Please do not sacrifice long-term savings for a short-term budget fix. On behalf of the petitioners and of all our residents, we urge you to keep SCI Frackville open,” the letter concludes.