The overtime pay to correctional officers is down and the pre-release probation program for inmates to reduce the prison population is working.

The good news was given to members of the Schuylkill County Prison Board Wednesday.

Warden Eugene Berdanier reported the overtime for November totaled $21,487. That's a large drop and he credited much of it to guards not watching inmates confined in hospitals.

The monthly expenditure was reported at $399,870, with the biggest expenditure being salaries of correction officers, which totaled $261,294, groceries were $32,718, and health care, $62,375.

President Judge William E. Baldwin said the pre-release program started a number of weeks ago is working well and has helped reduce the inmate population, but there are still inmates given a chance to be out on liberty who violate the rules and are brought back to prison.

The prison population for November was 232 male and 51 female. A total of 14 offenders were placed on the pre-release status in November and a total of 45 offenders were active on pre-release status saving 962 total jail days. Five were removed from the program for violations and about 3,848 alcohol tests were administered and 96 drug tests given to 45 participants on pre-release status.

In the work release section 13 beds are occupied by inmates who have jobs and 13 inmates participated in the Vocational Rehabilitation Program. They completed 17 jobs and three days were spent providing service to 100 senior citizens as referred by the Office of Senior Services, plus six community jobs and 14 jobs for the county.

PreCare Medical Inc. of Harrisburg, which provides health care to the inmates reported in November 128 inmates were on sick call, 60 had sessions with psychiatrists, 54 went to the dentist, and 20 were on suicide watch with no incidents occurring.