Longietti: fight to prevent SCI-Mercer closure proves successful

HARRISBURG, Jan. 26 – State Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, has issued a statement upon the announcement that SCI-Mercer will not be closed as part of a cost reduction plan announced by Gov. Tom Wolf.

Pennsylvania Corrections Secretary John Wetzel announced that the only prison that will be closed is SCI-Pittsburgh, the oldest prison that was under consideration for elimination.

"The community dodged a major bullet this morning," Longietti said. "I believe the community's united stand in presenting our case made a real difference.

"I appreciate that the governor and the closure committee had a very tough decision. All five locations under consideration provide a real benefit to their communities, but I believe we made a very strong case for the value of SCI-Mercer to the community.

"Now that this decision is behind us, I will continue to work with our local economic development professionals and elected officials to foster economic opportunities and job growth in Mercer County."  

According to the Wolf administration, the prison closure plan is one step in the effort to reduce the projected 2017-18 state budget deficit. The closure of Western Penitentiary in Pittsburgh, including the relocation of up to 1,900 inmates, is expected to be completed by the end of June. Many are expected to be moved to SCI-Camp Hill where 1,000 beds were recently made available.