The Schuylkill County Prison Board has accepted an offer from the local Salvation Army organization for excess new clothing it has to be donated to prisoners, in action taken at its monthly meeting which was the first of four quarterly meetings held yearly on the prison grounds.

Warden Eugene Berdanier reported he has inspected the types of clothing offered and found them appropriate and will be beneficial for inmates who have little or no personal clothing when discharged or for appearance in court. The clothing includes work type pants, jumpsuits, and jackets.

Other business

The board also promoted Correctional Officer Brian P. Rice to the rank of first lieutenant to fill the new lieutenancy vacancy.

In other action the board hired Christian John Moyer and Justin Scott Bedford to fill two correctional officer vacancies. Currently there are two correctional officers, two lieutenants, a maintenance staff person and the personal fiscal assistant secretary off-duty on extended or medical leave.

Berdanier reported the county is a participating member of the Electronic Reporting Inmate Information program. He explained this program is with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry and JNET which operates the ERII to provide county jail notifications on individuals receiving unemployment compensation. The technology is used to generate admission and release notifications that can be used to combat fraud and enhance public safety.

Gov. Tom Corbitt recently announced an innovative program to eliminate fraudulent unemployment compensation payments to prisoners and believes it can save $12 million a year. The county prison also participates in the statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification service which informs victims when the offender is released from prison.

In his monthly report on the physical plant, Berdanier announced a new large Ecolab dispenser was installed at no cost to the prison. The new dispenser is a new product called Pathways which is an enzyme that is pumped into the drain and grease pit to dissolve build-up and help keep the dishwasher drain open.

New kiosk machines have been installed for use as inmate telephone services provider. Visitors now can deposit money on an inmate commissary or phone accounts. A new mixer was purchased at a cost of $5,450 and added to the kitchen operation.

PrimeCare Medical Inc. reported in February there were 232 inmates out of 296 on sick call, 49 were seen by a psychologist, 23 saw a dentist, and 12 were on suicide watch with no incidents occurring.

Eighteen inmates were housed in the work release section which permitted them to leave the prison for their jobs and return to the prison at the end of their shifts. Eight inmates participated in the Vocational Rehabilitation Program.

Monthly rental collected from the work release inmates was $3,077 for their room and board and $1,864 towards their court costs.

The cost of operating the prison in February totaled $331,338.30.