The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

January 27, 2013

Readers' Forum 1-27 | In closing prison, where are the savings?

JOHNSTOWN — The closing of SCI-Cresson is a tragedy for the employees and the taxpayers of both Cambria County and Pennsylvania.

For some reason – probably political – the state loves to spin everything to Centre County, where unemployment is already the lowest in the state.

The Department of Corrections contends the closings of SCI-Cresson and SCI-Greensburg are due to their ages.

This is malarkey. What about SCI-Huntingdon (built in 1889), SCI-Rockview and SCI-Graterford? All were established before SCI-Cresson.

Before SCI-Cresson opened in January 1987, the state removed many of the old buildings used when it was a hospital and replaced them with new cell blocks, a gatehouse/visiting room complex and a gymnasium. A few of the existing buildings were retrofitted for inmate housing.

Since 2000, DOC has invested several million dollars there for a new inmate dining room/food service unit, a new cell block and upgrades to security and detection systems. Why would the state spend $200 million to build a new prison, leaving two existing prisons empty, to save $23 million in fiscal 2013-14?

Isn’t it fantastic that our state and federal governments are always looking at efficient ways to save our tax dollars?

Local representatives need to stop this.

Prisons usually are filled to capacity, resulting in dangerous environments for  staffs and inmates. Closing one, let alone two, should not be an option. A law-abiding society will always need that extra cell space because at any given time there are more criminals on our streets and in our neighborhoods than behind bars.

James Adams

Ebensburg

Retired SCI-Cresson employee

Flag code specifies ‘properly illuminated’

In response to the gentleman who said a light bulb or a streetlight 30 or 40 feet away does not constitute illumining the U.S. flag (Jan. 13):

The flag code states the flag can be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during hours of darkness. There is no additional guidance on what “properly illuminated” means.

The American Legion defines proper illumination as a light specifically placed to illuminate the flag, or having a light source sufficient to illuminate the flag so it is recognizable as such by the casual observer.

So if the flag can be seen as such by a light bulb or streetlight, according to the flag code, it is “properly illuminated.”

I served in the military and have flown a flag 24 hours a day. It is illuminated by a streetlight one house away – and you can tell the flag is there.

According to the flag code, it is “properly illuminated.”

Alan Pettitt

Jenners

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