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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: January 12, 2021 02:42 PM
From: Representative Napoleon J. Nelson and Rep. Joe Webster
To: All House members
Subject: Establishing County Jail Oversite Boards in Counties of the Second Class A

There are over 96,000 Pennsylvania residents incarcerated in county jails, prisons, or correctional facilities in every county across the commonwealth. These residents and their families retain the right to proper jail governance. Title 61, Chapter 17 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes defines the structure of county correctional institutions for 64 of the 67 counties, those of the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eight class. The three PA counties of the Second Class A (2-A) do not fit within the structure of the statute.

While Delaware and Bucks Counties have each managed to advance to an accountable governance structure similar to the current statute’s prescription, Montgomery County, the third largest county in the Commonwealth has remained regulated by the Prison Act of 1851.

This is why I am introducing legislation that would close this loophole and require counties of the Second Class A, such as Montgomery County, to establish a county jail oversight board in a similar fashion to counties of the second class. These oversight boards have the authority to make significant changes regarding how jails in their respective counties operate. Additionally, allowing local officials and residents of Montgomery County to have a county jail oversight board could create space for reform that would benefit the communities these facilities are located in.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation to allow for greater accountability in our criminal justice system. Your consideration is appreciated.

Introduced as HB343