Cresson decision rushed

I’m a former employee of SCI Cresson. I’m confused how this prison became “antiquated” overnight.

When it was opened in 1987, millions of dollars were pumped into it to provide a safe, secure facility for staff and inmates alike. Two new cell blocks were constructed, along with extensive renovations.

During my tenure (2001-2006), more renovations and updates continued and funds were secured to build a new cell block to provide maximum security housing and allow for increased population.

Are there areas that are “antiquated?” Sure. This was known when it reopened. These areas are utilized for what they can safely provide – mostly, non-violent offenders.

What’s the real reason this facility (located atop the Alleghenies in a remote, yet easily-accessible location) is closing? And the rush?

I watched DOC Secretary Wetzel’s press conference.

He stated the decision was not just financial and that Gov. Corbett’s first question was the impact on staff. Really?

And the majority of the conference was focused on finances. He talked about populations trending down. Trends are just that – they change -possibly “old facilities that don’t meet our needs” will be needed again.

Who would spend millions of taxpayer dollars (many this fiscal year) in a facility to close? SCI-Pittsburgh was closed – it also was “antiquated” and replaced by a new facility. Shortly afterwards, it was re-renovated and re-opened.

Wouldn’t it be prudent to allow employees and taxpayers some answers before pushing forward?

Unless, of course, you don’t want them to have the answers.

Colleen Spicher