Three new correction officers were hired by the Schuylkill County Prison Board at its monthly meeting held Wednesday at the courthouse in Pottsville.
Christopher Fertig, Ashland; Joseph Kayo, Shenandoah, and Andrew Runkle, Port Carbon, were hired and the board asked the county salary board at its next meeting to fix their salaries.
Controller Melinda Kantner made a motion to have the three consultants who recently completed an assessment of the prison to return to see if the warden was implementing their proposals. Commissionner Francis McAndrew said the request was premature as more time is needed to carry out the recommendations. The board took no action on her motion.
Kantner then turned her attention to Warden Eugene Berdanier, asking him about fire evacuation plans at the prison for which he was cited for failing to carry out in the past.
Berdanier said at this time there was to much commotion in the prison and workers have been active for 10 to 12 hours daily installing cables and wires for a camera security system which was recommended to be installed at the prison after several guards were fired for assaulting a prisoner in his cell. He said he will not give a date when the drill is held because it should be unexpected to see how successful it is carried out. He also was questioned about having firearms training for guards. Berdanier said he recently received a supply of ammunition and a date will be set.
President Judge William E. Baldwin, who chaired the meeting, suggested to Berdanier to submit a monthly report on recommendations made by the consultants.
In his monthly report on the prison he said that electronics installation is progressing, an air condtioning unit for the medical and property rooms had to be temporarily shutdown until a fan motor was replaced. He reported the monthly expenditure for the prison was $325,413.09. Also, there were five officers on extended leave and one officer on restricted duty.
The current prison population had 206 males and 41 females.
PrimeCare Medical Inc., which provides health services at the prison, reported in June 86 inmates were on sick call, 108 were seen by a psychologist, 39 saw a dentist and 17 were on suicide watch with no incidents.
Joseph F. Huth, work release coordinator, reported 23 inmates were housed in the work release section. Inmates in the Vocational Rehabilitation Program completed 22 jobs, providing services to 100 senior citizens referred from the Office of Senior Services, completed 15 community service jobs and three jobs for the county.