Schuylkill County legislative delegation releases statement regarding potential state prison closures

FRACKVILLE – Sen. David G. Argall (R-Schuylkill/Berks) and Reps. Neal Goodman (D-Schuylkill), Jerry Knowles (R-Berks/Carbon/Schuylkill) and Mike Tobash (R-Schuylkill/Dauphin) released the following statement regarding the governor’s decision to close two state correctional institutions out of five under consideration, one including SCI Frackville:

“We’re shocked that Frackville is included on this list. Out of the five state prisons under consideration, SCI Frackville is the newest facility and has an ‘excellent infrastructure’ according to the Department of Corrections. Furthermore, SCI Frackville has the second-lowest cost-per-inmate, would generate the least amount of annual savings for taxpayers if closed and is the most versatile because it can accommodate all four levels of prisoners.

“We believe if the administration is seeking cost-savings, they should be looking at our corrections system as a whole and all institutions should be under review; not a select handful. Furthermore, this needs to be an open and transparent process since this impacts all Pennsylvanians from a cost standpoint as well as a safety and security standpoint.

“We’ve already spoken with Governor Wolf and Secretary Wetzel and will do everything in our power to convince them to keep this facility open. We know there are facilities that are not economically viable, but Frackville is not one of them. We are sure that after the Department of Corrections does its due diligence it will see what we already know – that Frackville is a top-notch institution that must be maintained. We are hopeful the administration can strike the right balance between cost-savings for taxpayers and the safety of Pennsylvanians.”