FRACKVILLE – Schuylkill County area lawmakers Representatives Neal Goodman (D-Schuylkill), Jerry Knowles (R-Berks/Carbon/Schuylkill), Mike Tobash (R-Schuylkill/Dauphin) and Senator David G. Argall (R-Schuylkill/Berks) thanked Gov. Tom Wolf and Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel for their decision to keep SCI Frackville open and for listening to their case to keep the facility running.
“My heart goes out to the community that lost a facility, but we are very happy to learn SCI Frackville will not be closing and these 400 jobs will stay in Schuylkill County,” said Goodman. “We want to thank Governor Wolf and Secretary Wetzel for listening to us. We said from the beginning we will argue the facts on behalf of Frackville, and the facts prevailed.”
“We agree with the Department of Corrections – the facts prove that SCI Frackville is an efficient institution,” Argall said. “We believe this facility should be expanded; not eliminated. We will be very proactive on this front. In the next two weeks we will convene a series of meetings in Schuylkill County and at the Capitol with one goal in mind: further improving SCI Frackville and SCI Mahanoy so that in the future, neither local prison is on any list to be closed. What improvements can be added, what cost-savings make sense to strengthen these two institutions? These are just some of the many questions on which we will focus.”
“This is the perfect example of working together to create a good result,” Knowles said. “I am thankful for the bipartisan, fact-based team approach that was demonstrated throughout this process to fight to keep this important facility’s doors open. Thank you to my state and local colleagues who came together to do all we could to make this a positive result for our area.”
“SCI Frackville is a highly performing facility and an asset to our community,” Tobash said. “This decision represents fiscal responsibility, as well as good news for our region.”
Since the Administration announced January 6 it will close prisons, the county’s lawmakers have argued SCI Frackville is the most efficient and newest of the five facilities under review and in excellent physical condition. It also has the lowest overtime costs and annual expenditures, is strategically located off Interstate 81, shares services with nearby SCI Mahanoy, and is able to accommodate all levels of prisoners.
Representatives Kurt Masser (R-Columbia/Montour/Northumberland), Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon), and Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne), as well as Congressman Matt Cartwright, the Schuylkill County Commissioners, Ryan Township supervisors, and the Schuylkill Economic Development Corporation were all instrumental in making the case to keep SCI Frackville open. Credit also goes to Schuylkill County Municipal Authority, Frackville Area Municipal Authority, Wheelabrator Frackville, the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association, and SCI Frackville Superintendent Kathy Brittain.
“The decision to keep SCI Frackville open is a good one,” Masser said. “Ensuring public safety is one of government’s most core and essential services, and this facility and its employees have done nothing but exemplary work.”
The four legislators added that credit goes to the 5,600 individuals who signed the petition to Gov. Wolf and Sec. Wetzel urging them to keep open SCI Frackville.