Pennsylvania Department of Corrections en Study: PA Per-Inmate Health Care Cost Down, State Bill Up <p>When most Pennsylvanians are incarcerated, the Department of Corrections must foot the bill for their health care costs.</p><p>That’s according to Susan Bensinger, Deputy Press Secretary, who said the department works to pay that bill in a way that provides community-standard care for the inmates while utilizing taxpayer money in the most efficient way possible.</p><p>A study released Tuesday by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation suggests that the department has been successful in that mission.</p> Wed, 09 Jul 2014 18:37:56 +0000 Jessica Nath 32323 at State Corrections Secretary Says When Sentencing, We Need to Consider the Offender <p><a href="">John Wetzel</a>, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, is responsible for the state prison system, from inmates, to employees, to a budget of nearly $2 billion. And he's trying to take a holistic approach to the corrections system.</p><p>With more than 20 years of experience in the corrections industry, he's part of a sentencing commission that's developing tools to help trial judges better assess the risks and needs of offenders.</p><p>He says the key to that assessment is looking at the root causes of crime.</p><p>"Based on the number of prior arrests, the age of the offender, based on a bunch of other factors, we can predict the likelihood that the individual will commit another crime."</p><p>By looking at these "criminogenic needs," or needs that lead to crime, and by using cognitive therapy and other programming, Wetzel says offenders can learn to make better decisions, think differently and reduce their likelihood to commit future crimes. Fri, 21 Mar 2014 23:06:35 +0000 Essential Pittsburgh 26247 at State Corrections Secretary Says When Sentencing, We Need to Consider the Offender More Than 81,000 Children Have a Parent in Prison in PA <p>When she was a baby, Kayla Bowyer of Pittsburgh was adopted by her grandparents because her mother was in and out of Allegheny County Jail.<br /><br />Her grandfather died when she was 10 and her ‘Grams' had to go to work to support Bowyer, her younger brother and three cousins.<br />&nbsp;</p><p></p> Sun, 02 Mar 2014 17:38:23 +0000 Emily DeMarco of PublicSource and Jacob Seibel of Citizens' Voice 25224 at More Than 81,000 Children Have a Parent in Prison in PA Department of Corrections Requesting $77 Million Increase For Next Fiscal Year <p>The head of the state prison system is reminding state lawmakers they’ve had a hand in the growing inmate population.<br /><br />The Department of Corrections is requesting about $77 million more for the next fiscal year beginning in July, with most of the boost tied to personnel costs.<br /><br />At a budget hearing, House lawmakers noted concern with the steady rise in spending at the agency.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br /> Thu, 13 Feb 2014 15:38:18 +0000 Mary Wilson 24366 at PA Settles Lawsuit Challenging Execution Witness Policy <p>Pennsylvania has settled a lawsuit that sought to force the commonwealth to allow witnesses to view the entire execution of condemned prisoners.<br /><br />The agreement follows a federal judge’s order last fall that the state shall not prevent witnesses, including reporters, see the entire lethal injection process.<br /><br />Vic Walczak is legal director for the Pennsylvania American Civil Liberties Union, which worked on the case.<br /> Wed, 06 Nov 2013 21:20:23 +0000 Mary Wilson 19395 at Somerset Prison Reports Legionella Infections <p>A Somerset prison is chemically treating its water supply after four inmates became infected with Legionella.</p><p>On July 26, Department of Corrections officials tested the water system at the State Corrections Institution-Somerset with preliminary results finding no traces of Legionella. However, the bacteria was found in the facility’s cooling towers.</p><p>Susan McNaughton, press secretary for the DOC, said the prison is cooperating with state agencies to eliminate the bacteria.</p> Tue, 30 Jul 2013 17:35:20 +0000 Michael Lynch 13993 at Penn State: Sandusky Interview Continues to Open Wounds <p>Penn State says Jerry Sandusky's assertion that a key witness misinterpreted his showering with a young boy continues to "open wounds" for his victims.<br><br>Excerpts of Sandusky's interview with a documentary filmmaker were broadcast Monday on NBC's "Today" show. The former Penn State assistant football coach says he doesn't understand how Mike McQueary concluded "sex was going on" when he witnessed the shower incident in 2001.<br> Mon, 25 Mar 2013 19:16:52 +0000 The Associated Press & Mary Wilson 6121 at Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of PA Prisoners with Serious Mental Illness <div class="field-item even"><p>The Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania filed a federal lawsuit against the Department of Corrections on behalf of prisoners with serious mental illness alleging prisoners were not given adequate treatment in solitary&nbsp;confinement.</p><p>The lawsuit alleges the Department of Corrections violates the Eighth Amendment rights of prisoners with serious mental illness such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder by isolating them in solitary confinement and not offering them sufficient or proper&nbsp;treatment.</p> Tue, 12 Mar 2013 16:47:30 +0000 Erika Beras & Erik 2864 at State Releases Recidivism Report, Finds $44.7 Million in Potential Savings <div class="field-item even"><p>The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections released a comprehensive state recidivism report this&nbsp;week.</p><p>This is the first such recidivism report in six years – the department used to do a much more pared down&nbsp;report.</p><p>This report details how often re-offenders commit crimes, what crimes are most likely to end in re-incarceration and how much taxpayers can save - $44.7 million a year - with some changes to the&nbsp;system.</p> Fri, 01 Mar 2013 20:00:00 +0000 Erika Beras 1951 at