Facts on prison closing just don’t add up

Statements made by the Department of Corrections concerning the closing of SCI Cresson are both puzzling and factually incorrect.

They claim that the jail is old and less efficient. The facts are that the taxpayers have spent over $60 million to upgrade the prison to as high a standard as most of the prisons across the state.

They claim that the prison operational costs are too high. The facts are that, using their own figures, there are many prisons in Pennsylvania more expensive to operate.

They claim that the prison takes more officers to operate due to age (of the prison). The facts are that, like most modern prisons, Cresson has a bank of cameras to assist the officers watch the inmates.

One cell block (less than eight years old) is computerized to enhance security. Does that sound old to anyone?

They claim that inmate populations are dropping. The facts are that the trends over the last 40 years say differently – a fact that the SEC of Corrections admitted in a report he issued in 2011.

Why the change?

They claim that they are paroling inmates faster. The fact is that over 50 percent of paroled inmates return to prison. They claim that Cresson isn’t a “specialized” prison. The fact is that inmates from all over the state are shipped here because of Cresson’s special needs programs.

Why would you shut any prison down when 17 of the 20 prisons in Pennsylvania are overcrowded?

Why would you keep calling the prison old when you know that most of the buildings are less than 35 years old and have all been upgraded to meet or surpass standards?

Dennis Dignan