HARRISBURG – January 6, 2017 – In light of Governor Wolf’s announcement today that he is planning to close two state correctional institutions (SCI) from a list of five, which includes SCI Mercer, state Sen. Michele Brooks, state Rep. Tedd Nesbit, Rep. Mark Longietti, and Rep. Parke Wentling issued the following statement:
“The announcement that the governor plans to close two state prisons came without any previous conversation or public input.
We are concerned for the employees at SCI Mercer, along with public safety as a whole, and will strongly advocate for this facility to not be selected for closure.
With cost savings being cited as a key reason for closure, it is important to note that SCI Mercer has the lowest annual cost per inmate, at $38,992, compared to highs of almost $67,000 per inmate, of the five facilities. Thus, some of the smallest savings to taxpayers would be realized with the closure of SCI Mercer. This information is one of the reasons we have requested a public hearing from Secretary of Corrections John Wetzel before any decision is made. This far-reaching public safety decision cannot be made abruptly or unilaterally and must have complete transparency.
At a time when the state needs to look toward greater efficiencies, it does not make sense to close the facility that has the lowest annual cost per inmate.”