Rep Mullery is ready to vigorously fight to 400 state prison jobs in his district
State Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Luzerne, today said he is ready to vigorously fight to save 400 State Correctional Institution Retreat jobs in his district.
Citing cost saving measures, the Department of Corrections has announced it will close two state prisons this year and will announce its final decision Jan. 26. SCI Retreat is among five prisons being considered for closure.
Mullery said he will fight tooth and nail as he believes there is no reason the governor should close this institution.
“The governor has unnecessarily placed the lives and livelihoods of Pennsylvania families in the heart of the budget battle and I am vehemently opposed to this tactic,” Mullery said. “He is creating a situation to use as a negotiating chip and I will do everything I can to keep this correctional facility open.”
Mullery said Gov. Tom Wolf’s power has been greatly diminished with the Republicans holding super-majorities in the House and Senate.
“I understand the pressures of passing an on-time, responsible budget,” Mullery said. “However, treating those individuals who place their lives at risk every day like political pawns is 100 percent unacceptable.”
According to the state DOC, because of cost savings initiatives taken over the past several years, the department is again in the position to make more reductions due to the of the dire budget forecast. Each affected employee will be offered a position elsewhere in the state prison system.
Besides the Luzerne County facility, four other prisons are under consideration for closure SCI Frackville in Schuylkill County, SCI Mercer in Mercer County, SCI Waymart in Wayne County and SCI Pittsburgh in Allegheny County.
The department claims there is a historic reduction in the inmate population therefore the locations can close without a security risk.
Mullery believes the potential closures are not about cost savings but about strong arming legislators into voting for his upcoming budget.
“I’ve broken from the governor in the past and I will again if it is in the best interests of those I represent,” Mullery said.