Majority Leader Bill DeWeese



DeWeese lauds jobs for newest state prison 


HARRISBURG, Sept. 18 – State Rep. Bill DeWeese said more than 1,200 jobs and millions of dollars in spin-off economic development are likely coming to Fayette County, thanks to today’s announcement of a new state prison expected to be built in the county.


DeWeese joined Secretary of Corrections Jeffrey Beard and Department of General Services Secretary James Creedon at SCI-Fayette for today’s announcement by the Rendell administration that it plans to build a new state prison in Fayette County.


"Jobs, jobs, jobs; it doesn’t get much more important than that simple four-letter word," said DeWeese, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington. "Estimates from the Department of Corrections show the new prison will require 600 employees to operate and bring an additional 600 ‘spin-off jobs’ in various sectors of the local community, including service, retail, medical and others. And the best part is that prison jobs are recession-proof, that is, they don’t go away with a downturn in the economy."


DeWeese noted that the jobs don’t have to wait for the prison to open.


"Another significant factor is the estimated 1,000 jobs – union jobs -- that will be associated with prison construction," he said.


Last year, when DeWeese learned that the Department of Corrections was looking to build additional state prisons, he made a strong case to Secretary Beard and Governor Ed Rendell for bringing the new facility and its associated jobs to southwestern Pennsylvania. As House Majority Leader, DeWeese added an amendment to the state’s Capital Budget to allocate $200 million to build, and $6.5 million to equip, a new State Correctional Institution in Fayette County.


DeWeese has the distinction of being the only legislator in Pennsylvania history to have three state prisons built in his 50th Legislative District, under the administrations of three governors from both parties. In 2003, SCI-Fayette opened in Luzerne Township and currently has 753 employees. Before that, SCI-Greene opened in Waynesburg in 1993 and currently employs 760 people.


"In total, the three prisons have more than 2,100 workers with stable, family-sustaining jobs that include an excellent benefits package," DeWeese said. "The operation of today’s state-of-the-art facilities requires professional staff from many different fields – health care, teachers, vocational education instructors, food service workers, librarians, building maintenance, clerical support, administrative, janitorial, information technology and dozens of correctional officers."





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