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Schuylkill prison is overcrowded

Published January 21. 2010 05:00PM

The monthly report presented by the warden to the Schuylkill County Prison Board shows the prison population continues to be overcrowded and the operational costs at more than a quarter-million dollars per month.

The board met Wednesday at the Schuylkill County Courthouse for its monthly meeting. Warden Eugene Berdanier reported that the total expenditures for the month were $384,628.75, including $40,505.09 for groceries; and the prison population as of the day of the report was 279 males and 38 females. The total high for December was 305 inmates. The average length of stay per inmate in 2009 was 57 days and incarcerated through the year were 1,525 males and 267 females.

Other operational expenditures for the prison in December were, $164,514.97 for salaries of the correction officers; $17,909.52 paid in overtime because three officers and the captain of inmate records were off duty on extended medical leave and two officers on restricted duty; supplies, $5,721.50; clothing and bedding, $19,200; fuel, electric, water and sewer, $9,791.42; professional services, $118,365.35; travel expenses, $1,053.69; other expenses, $974.61; maintenance and repairs, $3,355.33. The income was $14,556.41, of which $6,260.33 was for room and board from prisoners on work release; inmate phone commission, $6,260.33; inmate commissary commission, $1,512.08; and social security, $400.

Berdanier also reported on work done to the prison, such as replacing damaged toilet and sink; firing up the coal boiler which is used during the winter with gas furnishing the hot water in the summer; repairs to equipment in the laundry room and the front gate.

Prime Care Medical Inc., Harrisburg, which provides the health needs, presented a report showing 152 sick calls were responded to by nurses, 169 inmates saw psychologists, 29 were seen by dentists, 29 visited the in-house clinic, 104 patients are on medical medication and 14 were placed on suicidal watch with no incidents.

Probation Officer Joseph Huth, who is the work release coordinator, reported 29 beds were filled by inmates with employment; 11 participated in the Vocational Rehabilitation Program, which completed 22 jobs, including three day services to 75 senior citizens; 10 community related service jobs; and nine jobs for the county.

Collected from the inmates was $6,384 for room and board, and $2,060 toward their court costs.

The meeting was chaired by President Judge William E. Baldwin and board members present were District Attorney James P. Goodman, Sheriff Joseph Groody, Commissioners Mantura Gallagher, Francis McAndrew and Frank Staudenmeier, and Controller Melinda Kantner.

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