Lawmakers call for delay in plan to shut down 2 PA prisons

Written by The Associated Press | Jan 22, 2013 2:59 PM

(Harrisburg) -- Some legislators and union leaders want the Corbett administration to slow down a plan to close two Pennsylvania prisons.

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Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and employee advocates at the targeted prisons in Greensburg and Cresson said Tuesday the workers didn't get enough notice of changes that could be life-altering. The 800 employees learned about the plan less than two weeks ago and many may have to take jobs in prisons far from home.

Senator Randy Vulakovich says it's an emotional event. He says the only time he saw his own father cry was when he lost his job.

State Corrections Secretary John Wetzel acknowledges the notifications were mishandled and took responsibility. But he says projections showing the inmate population shrinking in the next three years cannot be ignored.

Many of the 2,400 inmates from the Greensburg and Cresson prisons are expected to be transferred to the new Benner State Prison near State College.

More than 51,000 inmates live in Pennsylvania prisons, jails, or community correctional centers.

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