Saturday, January 12, 2013

PA closing two prisons, will save $23 million

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections will close state prisons at Cresson in Cambria County and Greensburg in Westmoreland County and open a new prison in Benner Township in Centre County, reported the Morning Call. The move is expected to save about $23 million in the fiscal year that starts July 1, said Corrections Secretary John Wetzel.

The 800 employees who will be affected by the closings will be moved to new jobs within the Corrections Department, Wetzel said.

Completed a year ago at a cost of about $200 million, the new prison will house about 2,300 inmates. Inmates from the Cresson Prison, which was largely a mental health facility, will receive those services at Benner and neighboring Rockview State Prison.

Lawmakers whose districts include the prisons were informed of the move this week, leading to some grumbling about short notice, reported the Morning Call. Wetzel shot back at critics saying the timing had been appropriate. But he noted, "if they want a hearing, they'll get a hearing."

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