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2 major electrical problems to be corrected at prison

Published November 17. 2011 05:01PM

Officials at Carbon County's Correctional Facility are fixing two major electrical problems.

During the county prison board meeting on Wednesday, Randall Smith, county administrator, announced that he has received the specifications from Schade Engineering Inc. for the lightning suppression system project at the prison.

Over the last few years, the prison, located on the top of the Broad Mountain in Nesquehoning, has been the victim of numerous lightning strikes that has caused thousands of dollars in damage to electrical operating systems.

The board has been working to alleviate this problem over the last few months. The county is now waiting for an estimate on installation costs. The estimated cost of the project is $15,000.

"We're close to getting the project under way," Smith said.

Charles Neff, maintenance supervisor at the prison, also reported that things are moving along for the generator project at the water tank.

Currently, when the power goes out at the prison, the water tank is not wired to the generator so water is limited at the prison.

The county plans install a generator at the tank so it has its own back-up power supply.

In other prison matters, Frank Shubeck, work release/treatment director, announced that Palmerton is the first community to opt into the prison's inmate community work program.

The borough hired inmates that are eligible for work release to do leaf collection throughout the month. Inmates receive $1 a day for the work.

The inmates were also down at Mauch Chunk Lake Park taking boats out of the water yesterday, Shubeck reported.

"We're glad the program is back up and running," he said.

Earlier this year, the prison board changed the inmate community work program because it cost the county $24,473 annually. Changes included implementing a supervision fee to any municipality that utilizes the inmates for projects; as well as the way the inmates were compensated for their work. Inmates used to receive time off their sentence for hours worked.

The new kiosk machine for inmate accounts is also up and running.

Mary Fairchild, administrative assistant at the prison, said that the kiosk, which is now how family and friends of inmates at the prison to put money into an inmate's account, began accepting money on Monday.

Family members will be able to come to the prison between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday; as well as other times that will be determined at a later time, to deposit money into an inmate's commissary or telephone account using the new electronic system. They will be able to use cash or debit/credit cards to complete these transactions. Exact change is required for all cash deposits.

If a family member cannot make it to the prison during the time the lobby is open, Fairchild reminds people that they can access and deposit money by credit card via the web. To access the online system, go to

You will need to create an account. Once an account has been created and a prison has been selected, the person will be able to deposit money any time they want.

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