Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Schuylkill County Prison Receives Order from Department of Corrections

Schuylkill County Prison Board Chairman George F. Halcovage, Jr. announced Tuesday that the Schuylkill County Prison received an Order dated May 4, 2016 from Pennsylvania Department of Corrections determining that the Schuylkill County Prison is ineligible to receive any additional prisoners sentenced to a maximum term of 6 months or more but less than 5 years. 

In the order issued by John E. Wetzel, Secretary of the Department of Corrections, it states that the prison failed to reach the benchmark of 277 inmates within the prison by November 24, 2015.  As of that date, 305 inmates were housed in the prison and continued to grow after.  The Order was issued to help reduce the number of housed inmates below the agreed benchmark.

The agreed benchmark was set forth in the Settlement Agreement with the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections dated July 28, 2015.

The Prison Board with the Schuylkill County Board of Commissioners, has worked to implement several programs including work release, a day monitoring center and an inmate diversion program. In addition, contracts with various state and county correctional facilities to house Schuylkill County inmates have been entered into and others are currently being negotiated and reviewed. 

The County has already diverted over thirty inmates since the original order and additional inmates are presently being classified for transfer. 

Commissioner Halcovage stated, "Despite the County's diligent efforts to reach the benchmark set by the PA Department of Corrections, the continued swelling numbers of inmates in Schuylkill County has prevented it from attaining that benchmark. The Schuylkill County Prison Board and Board of Commissioners are committed to continuing to work with the Department of Corrections, the Schuylkill County Court as well as County Law Enforcement professionals to insure that all inmate housing requirements are met and those individuals adjudicated by the Court requiring incarceration will be incarcerated."

The Commissioners will be reviewing the additional inmate housing agreements which upon approval will then open additional out of county housing opportunities for Schuylkill County Inmates.