|Posted:||January 6, 2017 01:57 PM|
|From:||Senator Wayne D. Fontana|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||Requiring Public Hearings on Prison Closures|
|In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that would prohibit the Department of Corrections from closing a state correctional institution without conducting a public hearing within the municipality in which the facility is located. Under my legislation, the Department would be required to provide at least 30 days notice of the public hearing.
Making a decision to close a prison facility is a serious matter and a judgment of this magnitude cannot and should not be made in haste. A decision like this warrants a public discussion within the community among workers, families and Corrections officials.
While I understand the cost of operating these facilities and providing the programs and services within, the cost of such a potential closure reaches far beyond simply closing the door and turning off the lights. This impacts our prison workers, economy and cuts off the rehabilitative efforts underway in that facility.
It’s no secret that Pennsylvania is on shaky financial ground and I understand and support the need to discuss efficiencies and cost saving ideas such as consolidating and streamlining programs and services -- but only where it makes sound fiscal, logistical and practical sense.
While consolidating some prison facilities might make good fiscal sense on paper, we need to ensure that we’re making the best decisions based on both the human and economic impact and I believe my proposal would open the door to do just that.
I hope you join me in sponsoring this important legislation.
Introduced as SB220