New PA state prison opens in Centre County

Written by The Associated Press | Apr 1, 2013 9:54 AM

(Bellefonte) -- The state Department of Corrections has opened its newest prison with a ceremony at the State Correctional Institution-Benner in Centre County.

The $200 million prison located next to SCI-Rockview will be housing 2,000 inmates and about 500 staff by the end of June.

The prison's central location and proximity to Interstate 80 will enable it to become the transportation hub for the state's prison system. SCI-Smithfield in Huntingdon County currently serves that purpose, though it will remain open.

Two other prisons are closing, however, SCI-Cresson and SCI-Greensburg, and most of their inmates are being moved to Benner, reportedly saving the state about $23 million annually. The state will have 26 prisons once those two close.

Corrections Secretary John Wetzel attended today'sopening ceremony. Residents can tour the new facility through tomorrow

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