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Prison remains overcrowded; part-time officers to be hired

Published January 17. 2013 05:01PM

The monthly state of prison report was given by Warden Eugene Berdanier to the Schuylkill County Prison Board, which met Wednesday at the courthouse in Pottsville, showing the prison remains overcrowded and interviews were conducted for hiring part time correctional officers.

The cost of operating the prison for December totaled $370,257.01 with the biggest cost is for providing health care to inmates by a professional company, Prime Care Medical , Inc., of Harrisburg, which was $67,779.46.

The prison population for December totaled 232 males and 44 inmates. Total inmates placed behind bars in 2012 was 1,838, including 1,456 males, and 382 females and the average length of stay per inmate was 58 days. In December 262 inmates were on sick calls, 150 were seen by psychiatrists, 46 were seen by dentists, and 24 were under suicide watch with no incidents.

Report on the physical plant was the intercom system was replaced and a new one installed in the control room; leaks were repaired in the kitchen ceiling; batteries for the backup system for heat were changed after a shelf life of two years; the men's and ladies rest rooms were resurfaced; a new drainage system installed in the laundry room; a camera damaged in the classroom was replaced; and a new two way radio communication system for contracted kitchen staff and correctional staff was installed for emergency situations.

Berdanier reported currently there were no staff vacancies but four correctional officers, two maintenance staff members, and one lieutenant are on extended medical leave.

Eighteen interviews for potential part time positions have been completed and a number will be called back to take aptitude tests.

Eighteen inmates are employed are quartered in the work release section. Eight inmates participated in the Vocational Rehabilitation Program. The program completed 12 jobs in 16 days with three days spent providing service to 100 senior citizens as referred by the Office of Senior Service. Seven jobs were completed for the county.

The monthly revenues obtained from those in the work release section was $2,834 for room and board and $1,000 towards payments of their costs and fines.

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