Goodman makes the case to keep SCI-Frackville open

HARRISBURG, Jan. 23 – State Rep. Neal P. Goodman today testified before the Senate Policy Committee and made the case to keep SCI-Frackville open.

Goodman was joined at the hearing by state Reps. Jerry Knowles, Mike Tobash and Kurt Masser, William Hanley of U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright’s office, Frank Zukas of the Schuylkill Economic Development Corporation, Ryan Township Supervisor Champ Holman and Schuylkill County Commissioners George Halcovage and Gary Hess.

SCI-Frackville is on a list of five state prisons that are being considered for closure. Gov. Tom Wolf has said he will select two facilities to close on Thursday.

“We all know the Commonwealth is facing a $2 billion deficit and something needs to be done to address it during this budget cycle,” said Goodman, D-Schuylkill. “But closing two state prisons in such a short time frame to achieve $80 million in savings is worrisome.”

Goodman said he would hate to see any of the facilities close, but argued that Frackville should not be on the list based on the criteria the Department of Corrections is using to determine which facilities to shut down. The criteria are:

  • Age -- Frackville is the newest facility of the five.

  • Location and accessibility -- Frackville is conveniently located off Interstate 81, and it has no negative impact on any of the surrounding communities.

  • Function -- Frackville is the most versatile of the five because it can house all levels of inmates, including the most violent -- level four inmates.

  • Cost -- Closing Frackville would save $44 million dollars, the smallest savings of the five. Frackville also has the lowest annual expenditures, lowest cost-per-inmate, and lowest overtime of the five.

  • Infrastructure -- Frackville received an excellent grading on all seven infrastructure categories.

Goodman also told the committees Schuylkill County has suffered public- and private-sector jobs losses recently, and the loss of Frackville would be economically devastating. He said any decision to close prisons should be delayed so the issue can be properly vetted.

Goodman’s complete testimony to the committee can be viewed by clicking here.