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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: February 15, 2017 01:51 PM
From: Senator John R. Gordner
To: All Senate members
Subject: Board of Prison Inspectors in Counties of the Eighth Class
In the near future, I will be reintroducing legislation that would amend Title 61, relating to county board of inspectors in counties of the eighth class. Existing law in § 1732(b) requires the boards to meet monthly and to hold these meetings at the prison facility at least quarterly.

I have been contacted by the Commissioners in Montour County, a county of the eighth class, with some concerns about how these requirements affect them. Their facility is very small, housing approximately 46 males and employing 12 individuals.

First, the facility is diminutive and well-run, which means that there are very few issues to be addressed by the board. Because of the lack of problems to resolve, the board often is required by law to convene monthly meetings at which there is nothing to discuss. As you know, these boards are made up of public officials from the county with significant other obligations to carry out. Being forced to meet monthly often takes them unnecessarily away from these duties.

Second, because the prison facility itself is so small, there is no conference or meeting room to utilize on a quarterly basis. The only place on the premises to try to hold meetings is in the warden’s office. However, seating capacity in that room is very limited.

My bill will allow these boards in counties of the eighth class to hold meetings less frequently. They would meet quarterly, but would not be prohibited from meeting more frequently, if necessary. It will also permit the board to select an appropriate, adequate meeting location at its discretion. For instance, the Montour County Courthouse is within walking distance of the Montour County Prison and has adequate meeting space.

I invite you in joining me in this effort to make meetings of county board of prison inspectors in counties of the eighth class more user-friendly. Please contact my office if you have any questions regarding this legislation.

Introduced as SB499