Mercer on list of possible state prison closings - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Mercer on list of possible state prison closings

Posted: Updated:
SCI Mercer SCI Mercer
HARRISBURG, Pa. -

The State Correctional Institution in Mercer County is on a list of five other Pennsylvainia prisons, two of which are being considered for possible closure.

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections announced on Thursday cost cutting measures that would close two prisons and cut the number of inmates in half by June of this year.

The department has named five prisons being considered, including SCI Mercer, which currently employs 413 people and houses 1,404 inmates.

Other facilities under consideration include SCI Retreat in Luzerne County, SCI Frackville in Schuylkll County, SCI Waymart in Wayne County and SCI Pittsburgh in Allegheny County.

“We have implemented a variety of cost savings initiatives over the past several years yet we are again in the position where the Department of Corrections must make significant reductions because of the dire budget forecast,” said DOC Secretary JohnWetzel. “The most significant reduction we can make as an agency is a prison closure.”

"Our commonwealth faces a serious budget deficit that means we have limited funds to provide the services the people of Pennsylvania expect from their government and we must make government more efficient to avoid broad cuts to education, job creation programs and social services for the most vulnerable," said Governor Tom Wolfe in a statement issued by his office.

The Department of Corrections has prepared a list of pro's and con's in its recommendations for each of the five facilities.

Closing SCI Mercer would save the state an estimated $46 million per year.

In addition, Mercer has a minimum security population and staff that would be easily absorbed by other nearby facilities, causing the least amount of disruption.

Also, while the majority of Pennsylvania's prison population is from the eastern part of the state, SCI Mercer is in the western part of the state.

Reasons for not closing Mercer include the lowest inmate costs per year, as well as the expenditure of nearly $20 million on upgrades at the prison, which was built in 1978.

Finally, the DOC says closing Mercer would have the third highest impact on staff and imates, out of all five facilities under consideration

Three of the prisons are more than half a century old. SCI Retreat was built in 1938, Waymart opened in 1912, and Pittsburgh is the oldest, having been in operation since 1882.

The decision, expected on January 26, will be based on the ages, sizes, locations, operational costs, specialty functions of the prisons, as well as economic impact on the affected communities.

The Department of Corrections says every affected employee will be offered a position elsewhere in the department.

The Department of Corrections recommentations can be seen below

  • More From wfmj.comHot ClicksMore>>

  • Thousands sing 'Happy Birthday' to Queen Elizabeth II

    Thousands sing 'Happy Birthday' to Queen Elizabeth II

    Sunday, April 22 2018 4:45 PM EDT2018-04-22 20:45:40 GMT
    (Toby Melville/Pool Photo via AP). Britain's Queen Elizabeth raises her glass during speeches at The Queen's Dinner, during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Buckingham Palace in London, Thursday, April 19, 2018.(Toby Melville/Pool Photo via AP). Britain's Queen Elizabeth raises her glass during speeches at The Queen's Dinner, during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Buckingham Palace in London, Thursday, April 19, 2018.
    Queen Elizabeth II is marking her 92nd birthday with a star-studded concert in London.More >>
    Queen Elizabeth II is marking her 92nd birthday with a star-studded concert in London.More >>
  • 420's long, strange trip to pot holiday began in California

    420's long, strange trip to pot holiday began in California

    Sunday, April 22 2018 2:58 PM EDT2018-04-22 18:58:12 GMT
    (AP Photo/Eric Risberg). In this Friday, April 13, 2018, photo, the Waldos, from left, Mark Gravitch, Larry Schwartz, Dave Reddix, Steve Capper and Jeffrey Noel pose below a statue of Louis Pasteur at San Rafael High School in San Rafael, Calif. Friday...(AP Photo/Eric Risberg). In this Friday, April 13, 2018, photo, the Waldos, from left, Mark Gravitch, Larry Schwartz, Dave Reddix, Steve Capper and Jeffrey Noel pose below a statue of Louis Pasteur at San Rafael High School in San Rafael, Calif. Friday...
    Where are The Waldos? Not far from the San Francisco Bay Area high school where in 1971 the five buddies' search for a marijuana patch gave birth to the term 420, now the date for marijuana's high holiday and...More >>
    Where are The Waldos? Not far from the San Francisco Bay Area high school where in 1971 the five buddies' search for a marijuana patch gave birth to the term 420, now the date for marijuana's high holiday and universal slang for smoking weed.More >>
  • Trump says he doesn't think personal lawyer will 'flip'

    Trump says he doesn't think personal lawyer will 'flip'

    Sunday, April 22 2018 11:07 AM EDT2018-04-22 15:07:32 GMT
    (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File). FILE - In a Monday, April 16, 2018, file photo, Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's personal attorney, center, leaves federal court, in New York. Federal prosecutors said they can give President Donald Trump's person...(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File). FILE - In a Monday, April 16, 2018, file photo, Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's personal attorney, center, leaves federal court, in New York. Federal prosecutors said they can give President Donald Trump's person...
    President Donald Trump says he doesn't expect personal lawyer Michael Cohen to "flip" as the government investigates Cohen's business dealings.More >>
    President Donald Trump says he doesn't expect personal lawyer Michael Cohen to "flip" as the government investigates Cohen's business dealings.More >>
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms