Minor security and preparation issues delay prison opening

COAL TOWNSHIP – Northumberland County officials have hit a snag in officially opening the new $31.7 million county prison. Warden Bruce Kovach tells us the official prison opening is delayed due to minor security and preparation issues.

Kovach says the county and the state Department of Corrections identified a number of items which needed attention and he says contractors have come back and made changes.

Kovach says some of those items include working through the process of setting up vendors, planning inmate tracking, and installing furnishings, which are still coming in as well. He says these issues were expected.

Regarding the transfer of inmates, Kovach couldn’t reveal any specifics due to security issues, but he says inmates are expected to move into the prison in the next few weeks.

See his full statement below.

“The Northumberland County Jail met the substantial completion date and received an occupancy permit in the predicted time frame. After reaching substantial completion the architectural and engineering firm sent a team to inspect the facility from which a punch list of items needing correction was developed for the contractors. An example of the items on the punch list range from paint touch-up to systems programing. The facility was designed using the standards published by the American Correctional Association. The architectural design firm employed a correctional design expert with ACA certifications who oversaw the design and construction of the security aspects of the project. With the assistance of the Department of Corrections a vulnerability test was conducted resulting in a number of recommendations which is standard practice. Each of the recommendations were reviewed with corrective action taken for each of their findings. Northumberland County Correctional staff are being trained by rotating officers through the systems at the new facility. Currently County employees are installing items not included in the construction of the facility to facilitate a cost savings to the County. For example County staff are moving furnishings into offices and programing space, hanging clocks, installing County data systems etc. It is now and always has been the intention of Northumberland County to build a correctional facility which is a safe and secure environment for staff and the inmates placed in their custody. ”

Warden Bruce Kovach

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