Corrections Officials Tell Senators Prisons Can Close Safely

Jan 23, 2017

SCI Waymart, in Waymart, Pennsylvania is among five state prisons being considered for closure. SCI Pittsburgh is also among the five.
Credit Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

Pennsylvania corrections officials are telling state senators they can close two prisons without jeopardizing the security of staff, inmates or the public.

Monday's joint Senate committee hearing comes four days before the Department of Corrections is to announce which two prisons it'll close. The hearing in the state Capitol is packed with corrections officers and their supporters.

The two prisons are to be chosen from a list of five prisons: Frackville, Mercer, Pittsburgh, Retreat and Waymart.

Corrections officials tell senators they believe they can close the prisons without layoffs. They say a similar prison closing in 2013 resulted in just two employees choosing not to take a department job elsewhere.

Pennsylvania has 26 prisons. Corrections officials say the inmate population is dropping and they expect that to continue. Meanwhile, the parole population is growing.