The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

January 9, 2013

NEW: Cresson prison to close by June 30

BY KATHY MELLOTT
KMELLOTT@TRIBDEM.COM

CRESSON — The state Department of Corrections hopes to have all of the nearly 1,600 inmates currently housed at the State Correctional Institute – Cresson moved out of that facility and housed in a new prison in Centre County by the middle of this year.

A representative of state Sen. John Wozniak, D-Westmont, said just minutes ago that the relocation will have to begin almost immediately in order to meet what was termed by prison officials as a June 30 goal.

Officials were shocked by the news late Tuesday afternoon that SCI-Cresson and SCI-Greensburg would be closed in the hopes of saving an estimated $23 million.

Department of Corrections officials said this morning the closings are part of an effort to eliminate older and less-efficient facilities.

“Old facilities do not meet our needs,” corrections secretary John Wetzel said in a morning news conference.

As of May 2012, the Cresson facility housed 1,585 inmates and had 524 employees.

Those employees will be offered jobs at other state prison facilities in the region, Wetzel said.



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