After tripling up inmates in cells, midstate county prison reaches deal with state

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Aug 19, 2016 6:14 PM

(Pottsville) -- After a ban that stretched more than three months, a midstate county's jail can now accept new prisoners.

The state is satisfied with Schuylkill County's work to end overcrowding, and has reached a deal that allows the county to admit new prisoners, after months of paying other counties to house them.

The state Department of Corrections put the ban in place because Schuylkill County's prison was consistently above capacity.

The jail's maximum capacity is 277, but the population count frequently jumped above 300, leading to three inmates in cells.

County Commissioner George Halcovage Jr. says they've worked to come up with other options besides locking someone up.

"We're looking at different programming. We're looking at programming from different places in the state that are going to provide programming that may be an alternative to incarceration," he says.

Halcovage says it could include boot camps, drug court, or house arrest for some offenders.

He adds: "We have a lot of options that we continue to do and we continue to review. We've looked at an intermediate placement facility for people that are going to be transitioning out."

The county will be required to submit a report to the state every two weeks, and the commonwealth will step in if the situation deteriorates again.

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