A program to allow inmates at the Schuylkill County Prison who are 21 years old or younger to earn a GED (General Education Diploma) was renewed, Warden Eugene Berdanier informed the members of the prison board at the monthly meeting held at the courthouse in Pottsville Wednesday.

Berdanier said the instructor is Pat Brennan, of the Pottsville Area School District, and of the 20 inmates in the prison who ar 21 years old or younger, eight chose to enroll in the class, seven do have high school diplomas and the rest were not interested.

The warden reported on a letter received from Waler Hoving Homes, Inc., Garrison, New York, who offered their services to the female population in the prison; The letter states the Home offers faith based programs to help women fearing leaving the prison with nowhere to turn to offer them rehabilitation programs.They requested permission to visit the prison to show a video to the female inmates what they can provide.

Berdanier gave the monthly financial report to the board showing the income for July totaled $20,065.63 mostly coming from phone commissions, $7,589.65, inmate commissary, $4,187.97 and bed and board payments of those housed in the work release section, $5,088. The expenditures totaled, $383,238.98 with the major expenditures being, salaries and wages of employees $199,481.42; overtime, $24,498.21; groceries, $43,223.22 and health care provision $67,553.44.

His report on plant maintenance includes repairs to a ruptured hot water line in an air conditioner and repairs to the computer system. The prison population as of the day of the report showed 257 males and 60 females for total of 317 inmates. The peak was 321 inmates. The board is working on a pre-release program to reduce the population.

PrimeCare Medical Inc., which provides the doctors and nurses for the care of the inmates reported 220 were treated by nurses on sick calls, 54 saw a dentist, 80 visited the in-house clinic and 18 were on suicide watch with no incidents reported.

Twenty-three inmates who have jobs are housed in the work release program and daily go to work from the prison and return to the prison when their shifts are done instead of going home until the serve their sentences. They also pay room and board and payments towards costs of prosecution. The county received $5,088 in room and board for July plus $1,696 towards their fines. Prisoners who participate in the Vocational Rehabilitation Program completed 22 jobs last month and provided 100 services for senior citizens as requested by the Office of Senior Service. Eleven community jobs were performed and eight jobs for the county.