Wolf decides to close state prison

Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Gov. Tom Wolf is calling for the closure of a state prison in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Wolf said he has reviewed a report for SCI Retreat and is calling for its full closure.

The closing will come no earlier than May 17 and will save about $40 million annually, his administration said.

Wolf said Pennsylvania’s state prison population has significantly decreased and crime rates continue to fall. He said a reduction of 1,900 inmates in the 2018-2019 fiscal year was the largest one-year decrease in the history of the Corrections Department.

The governor said current projections anticipate a continued decline in the prison population over the next five years, while the Corrections Department is faced with the challenge of a projected budget deficit of approximately $140 million for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

The prison about 10 miles west of Wilkes-Barre has about 380 full-time employees and houses about 940 inmates.

All employees will be offered continued employment at one of six state prisons within 65 miles of SCI Retreat, Wolf’s administration said.

The governor’s office said the closure will not affect the safety or security of the staff, inmates, and the public.

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