Wolf to close Pittsburgh State Prison to save $80M annually

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – The Wolf administration said Thursday it will close Pittsburgh State Prison to save money at a time when inmate numbers are dropping and the state faces a huge budget deficit, but has opted against an earlier plan to also shut down a second facility.

Corrections Secretary John Wetzel said the 1,900-inmate prison will close by the end of June, producing a net annual savings of about $81 million.

The administration had previously said it was considering closing two prisons from a list of five – Pittsburgh, Frackville, Mercer, Retreat and Waymart – but ultimately decided to shut down just one.

The plan also involves doing away with about 1,500 halfway-house beds, many occupied by recent parolees who lack living alternatives.

The changes are part of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s strategy to address a massive budget hole.

All the 555 people who work at Pittsburgh State Prison will be offered jobs elsewhere within Corrections. Inmates will be transferred to other facilities.

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