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Carbon County Prison operating at full capacity

Published September 21. 2013 09:00AM

Carbon County's prison is packed to the max, officials say.

During the monthly meeting of the county prison board, Warden Joseph Gross announced that as of Wednesday, the prison was housing 221 inmates. That number fluctuates daily.

"The population continues to increase," he told the board. "We're busting at the seams."

Gross noted that right now, he is utilizing all available space that can be found inside the secured areas of the prison, including interview rooms, as housing options.

Earlier this year, the county transformed the indoor gymnasium into another housing unit for inmates because the prison was becoming overcrowded.

"It's getting pretty bad here," Gross said.

An overcrowding committee has been formed with members from various agencies in the county in the hopes of finding a solution that would help alleviate the problem.

Gross said that there are a few options available, but all will cost the county money.

He added that the committee will continue to work on a solution.

In addition to the overcrowding problem, Gross discussed the issue of staffing.

He said that it was brought to his attention that the judges need reports to know what people are in the prison for.

Unfortunately, due to lack of computer skills from years ago, the information that is needed was not inputted into the computer system so reports cannot be created.

He said that the current staff does not have time to stop their current duties to input all of the information that is needed and asked that the county create a full-time records room staff position to handle inputting all information and handling calls from outside agencies.

The board voiced their opinions and were not in favor of a new position. No formal action was taken.

In other matters, the prison is working on building a firing range for its officers to train.

Frank Shubeck, the prison work release/treatment director, explained that the range would be 50 yards deep and 25 yards wide and primarily used for pistol, patrol rifle and shot gun.

"It's very specific to our needs at the facility," he told the board.

Gross asked Shubeck to take the guidelines provided by the Pennsylvania Counties Risk Pool and make the necessary changes.

Eloise Ahner, county administrator, said that representatives from PCoRP want to inspect the site for the proposed range.

She said that maybe it can be simulated before the county invests time and money on the project.

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