Governor Tom Wolf says the state will close two prisons to save money. The state prison inmate population had dropped considerably in recent years, which is prompting the cost-cutting move. Five state prisons are on the list of possible cuts.
But this is not sitting well in communities that are dependent on correctional facilities for jobs. In Pennsylvania, as in many states, many rural communities depend on these types of prisons as crucial employers. In some counties, the correctional facilities employ so many locals that other businesses, such as local retail, dining, and other business, will suffer second-hand effects from closings.
In order to make up for the lost beds, prisons will be running over capacity, which could make correction officers and medical personnel’s already difficult jobs more stressful. The job of rehabilitating prisoners, already so difficult, will get even tougher. There is also the chance that due to these overcrowded conditions, overtime will go up, partially negating any cost savings the commonwealth was hoping for.
Members of both political parties from all five counties are already making the case to the governor that their county should not be the one to lose out in the deal.