Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment. Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.
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Host: Scott LaMar
Pennsylvania is facing a $600 million budget shortfall, and as expected, state agencies and programs could see cuts. This will include two state-run corrections facilities.
Five prisons are on the chopping block, the Department of Corrections will announce which two will close next week. They include state prisons in Frackville, Pittsburgh, Mercer, Wayne County and Luzerne County. The target date for closure is June 30th of this year.
Pennsylvania prisons are already nearly 4% over capacity, with about 48,000 inmates currently housed by the DOC. Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Corrections John Wetzel have initiated a number of reforms since 2010 in an effort to reduce the prison population.
These closures will affect more than 800 corrections employees and thousands of inmates. According to the Department of Corrections, every employee will be offered a position within DOC and inmates will be transferred to other prisons.
Jason Bloom, president of the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association will join Smart talk to discuss the impact these closures will have on the state's prison guards facing displacement. He will also discuss the efficacy of some new programs and the state of corrections from the perspective of the guards who maintain the prisons.
Also, the Pennsylvania Auto Show opens a week from Thursday at the State Farm Show Complex and Expo Center. The Auto Show is always one of the midstate's most popular destinations for those who may in the market for a new car or just want to see the latest models and technology.
On Smart Talk we discuss trends and the future of cars with Washington Post reporter Steven Overly, who writes about automobiles and anchor and edits The Washington Post's Innovations section.
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