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Carbon prison still over capacity

Published August 21. 2014 04:00PM

The Carbon County inmate population is continuing to rise.

During the monthly meeting of the county prison board on Wednesday, Warden Joseph Gross reported that a total of 219 inmates were currently being housed in the prison, located on the Broad Mountain in Nesquehoning.

Of that total, 44 are female. The prison only has beds for 34, Gross said, adding that to accommodate the remaining 10, an overflow room and a medical area are now being used as cells.

"Every housing block is currently over capacity," he said. "Something is going to have to be done about this."

Gross pointed out that on weekends, the prison population increases due to weekend sentences.

Last weekend, the population was 224.

"We can only guarantee this weekend that the population will rise again," he said.

The county has been looking at ways to solve the overcrowding problem without costing the taxpayers more money.

Earlier this year, the board met with the courts to make some changes, including some rules on how people are monitored; and using ankle bracelets more.

Members also visited day reporting centers to see if that would be a viable option for Carbon.

No discussion on the matter occurred on Wednesday.

In other business, the prison board approved two agreements.

The first names Blue Mountain Health System as the medical provider for the prison. The contract begins Oct. 1 and is for two years.

The second renews a food agreement with Trinity Services Group Inc. of Oldsmar, Florida, for food service at the facility for an additional one-year period. The cost per meal will increase from $1.325 to $1.365 as per the original bid. The term of the contract is Aug. 5, 2014, through Aug. 4, 2015, and is the first of two renewals.

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