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Update: PA to close 2 state prisons and open new one

Written by The Associated Press | Jan 8, 2013 4:31 PM
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(Harrisburg) -- A state senator says the Department of Corrections is planning to close two state prisons in western Pennsylvania and open a new one that was built a year ago.

Cambria County Sen. John Wozniak told The Associated Press today a member of Governor Corbett's administration delivered the news to him earlier in the day. A department spokeswoman declined comment, but Corrections Secretary John Wetzel plans a Wednesday announcement.

Benner State Prison in Centre County cost nearly $200 million to build, but it's been vacant so far. Wozniak says the prisons that will close are Greensburg State Prison in Westmoreland County and Cresson State Prison in Cambria County.

Wozniak says most prisoners from Cresson and Greensburg will be moved to Benner.

*This story was posted at 5:21 p.m. on 1/8/13*

(Harrisburg) -- Pennsylvania's Department of Corrections isn't saying whether an announcement by the secretary will involve the opening of a new state prison or the closing of older prisons.

A department spokeswoman says she couldn't comment on tomorrow's planned announcement by Secretary John Wetzel.

Benner state prison in Centre County was completed about a year ago at a cost of nearly $200 million, but it stands empty. Pennsylvania also houses some inmates in buildings that are a century old, or more.

The state counts more than 51,000 inmates, including about 2,400 in county jails or community correctional centers. The state says it has beds for more than 48,000, but Roy Pinto of the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association says the system was built to handle well below 40,000.

*This story was posted at 4:30 p.m. on 1/8/13

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