Thursday, January 26, 2017

SCI-Frackville to Remain Open; SCI-Pittsburgh to Close

On Thursday morning, an announcement was made regarding the closure and fate of SCI- Frackville.

Senator Argall's office has confirmed that SCI-Frackville was NOT on the list for closure.

It was also confirmed that all 3 prisons in Northeast Pennsylvania, including SCI Waymart in Wayne County, SCI Frackville in Schuylkill County, and SCI Retreat in Luzerne County will not close.

The Department of Corrections announced Thursday morning that SCI-Pittsburgh will close.

Closing SCI Pittsburgh by June 30, will enable the department to realize an estimated annual net savings of $81 million. The other four prisons under consideration will remain in operation.

“Closing an institution is a challenging process, and this decision, made in consultation with Governor Tom Wolf, only came after considering input from stakeholders and an extensive review of all of the institutions and took into consideration several factors including the age, size, location, programming, and economic impact on local communities,” said Wetzel. “While we initially felt that closing SCI Pittsburgh would present challenges for closure, upon review of the information, we feel confident that those challenges can be mitigated by relocating the services and specialized units to other facilities.”

Every employee of SCI Pittsburgh will be offered a job within DOC and that inmates will be relocated safely to appropriate facilities with available beds.

“With this announcement, we can focus on helping employees transition to other DOC facilities, relocating inmates within our system and beginning plans that enable the closure of this prison by the end of June,” said Wetzel. “The DOC is sending support staff to the facility to provide employees with resources and support services.”

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.