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Prison population continues to climb

Published August 22. 2013 05:03PM

Carbon County's inmate population is continuing its uphill trend.

During the county prison board meeting on Wednesday, Warden Joseph Gross announced that the prison inmate population hit its all-time high on Aug. 4. The population that day was 212.

"The numbers have been up and down this month," he reported. "Our current inmate population as of today is 195."

The Carbon County Correctional Facility, which is located on the Broad Mountain in Nesquehoning, has experienced overcrowding issues for years.

Since 2005, the prison board has looked at ways to increase the number of inmates it could house, from considering the option of used modular prison blocks, to getting a quote on how much it would cost to build an addition, which could be up to $9 million.

In 2009, when the inmate population hovered around 160, the gymnasium was used as temporary housing for medium block inmates.

In 2012, as population numbers continued to rise and overcrowding became more of an issue, officials converted the indoor gymnasium into a permanent housing block for inmates.

Currently, 32 inmates reside in the special block.

In other matters, Gross said that the transition from the county serving inmate meals to outside company Trinity Food Services, which took over operations Aug. 5, has been smooth.

The board also discussed drafts to new policies addressing dating and fraternization and dress code and personal hygiene of the employees. The policies will now be reviewed by the county solicitor.

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