HARRISBURG, January 26, 2017 – State Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) today released the following statement regarding the news that the Department of Corrections will not be closing the State Correctional Institute at Waymart and two other NEPA prisons.
“I am relieved and encouraged that SCI Waymart was spared the fate of being closed by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. This means, for the immediate future, that over 700 jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of economic impact will not be lost in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Further, the specialized services and mental health treatment sorely needed within our state’s Corrections system will be maintained at Waymart.”
“I am very pleased that two other facilities in Northeastern Pennsylvania — SCI Retreat and SCI Frackville — were also spared closing at this time. I want to express thanks for the leadership and for the voices of the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association (PSCOA) and their families throughout our region. I also want to thank all federal, state and local elected officials as well as other community partners who spoke up for our Corrections workers in NEPA. Your voices – including the 4,000 NEPA residents who signed your names to our petition delivered to Governor Wolf yesterday – have been heard in Harrisburg.”
“Needless to say, I am deeply concerned for the workers and the families in western Pennsylvania who will be adversely affected by the decision of our state Department of Corrections to close SCI Pittsburgh. I will monitor the actions of the Department in mitigating the personal and financial impacts on our fellow Pennsylvanians.”
“We need to ensure public safety; the safety of our workers; and the safety of those under the watchful eye and the necessary constraints of our Corrections system. We also need to be smarter in how we deal with non-violent offenders in order to reduce prison populations going forward. This means – as an alternative to shutting down facilities and shuffling prisoners around while disrupting lives and regional economies — investing in proper treatment and job training capacities to transition more non-violent offenders into productive members of society.”
The Department of Corrections announced earlier today that due to budget constraints, they will be closing SCI Pittsburgh by July 2017.
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