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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: May 2, 2017 03:48 PM
From: Senator Andrew E. Dinniman
To: All Senate members
Subject: Improving Security at Juvenile Facilities
I am introducing legislation to improve security and notification procedures at non-secure juvenile facilities in Pennsylvania. This bill comes in response to numerous escapes from a facility located in my area. While these escapes occur periodically, recently they seem to be more frequent and at least two instances have or are alleged to have resulted in violent crime.

My legislation calls for non-secure facilities licensed under the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services to develop written safety and security plans as a condition of licensure. Such plans must:
  • Be developed in conjunction and coordination with the local law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the facility or (in the absence of a local law enforcement agency) with the state police detachment having jurisdiction of the facility.
  • Provide for notice in a reasonable amount of time of any incident of escape involving a juvenile resident of the facility.
  • Be approved and adopted by the local municipal governing board where the facility is located.
  • Be updated on an annual basis.
Failure of the facility to develop or maintain such plans will result in suspension or revocation of licensure by the department, and a fine of $100 a day.

In addition, the bill calls for municipalities to continue to be required to utilize all county and statewide notification systems to notify residents of the escape.

While I understand the role such facilities play in providing treatment and rehabilitative options for juveniles, public safety is the primary duty of government. Our residents and families deserve the peace of mind of knowing that strong and effective security measures are in place to keep our communities safe

Please join me in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation.

Introduced as SB787