On the heels of Pennsylvania's historic decline in prison population—the largest one-year decline in four decades—the Department of Corrections announced today the imminent closure of two older prisons. This will save taxpayers an estimated $23 million next year.
This welcome news follows landmark bipartisan corrections reform in Pennsylvania that replaces decades of ineffective and expensive corrections policies with reforms that make our communities safer and save taxpayers money. Such savings and prison closures represent an unequivocal victory for taxpayers, inmates and corrections workers alike.
SCI Cresson (Cambria County) and SCI Greensburg (Westmoreland County), the two institutions to be closed, are older, less secure facilities that can house fewer inmates at higher operating costs relative to their newer counterparts, like the new facility at Benner Township. In addition, the new institutions offer a more efficient and more secure design, making them safer for inmates and residents.
Employees who are willing to relocate within the corrections system will be offered a new job. The entire taxpayer savings is the result of finding efficiencies within the corrections system.
The Commonwealth Foundation has long been part of a transpartisan coalition for corrections reform inspired by former Democratic Gov. George M. Leader, and we continue to stand with Gov. Corbett, Sec. Wetzel, and the unanimous consent of the General Assembly in their efforts to provide criminal justice reform that reduces costs to taxpayers and reduces crime.