Safety Concerns Grow for Just-Released Prisoners in the Poconos

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SNYDERSVILLE, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Each year, hundreds of prisoners are released from the Monroe County Correctional Facility. Warden Garry Haidle says about 15 people are released each day. Many walk to some nearby businesses to make a phone call or cash their money order. Those businesses say they always try to help, but they’re concerned for the prisoner’s safety on Manor Drive.

Ty Shoemaker’s worked at Pocono Mountain Harley Davidson for 13 years. He’s helped a lot of customers and newly released prisoners.

“They come out in shorts and t-shirts in the middle of the winter sometimes. I don’t know if they’ve been there for awhile. Maybe locked up in the summer, and they’re just getting out in the winter,” says Shoemaker.

Once prisoners are released, many walk the busy Manor Drive to the nearby motorcycle shop and Schock’s Sunoco Gas Station. The businesses let the prisoners use their phones to call for a ride.

Shoemaker adds, “it seems like everyone just pushes them away and wants to ignore it. But we’re at the end of the street so it’s either us or no one. It’s sad, it’s just really sad.”

Once prisoners are released, their cash is given back through a money order. Many cash them at Schock’s.

“Then they’ll hang out in that little area out there. We don’t get, you know, too nervous because we know who they are but you can see a lot of customers get uneasy,” says Jovan Singh, Schock’s Sunoco.

But the businesses are mainly concerned about the prisoner’s safety.

“They have that half-mile walk in all kinds of weather and there’s no sidewalk. And someone could get killed,” says Jim Schlier, owner of Pocono Mountain Harley Davidson.

Jim Schlier would like to see a waiting room installed at the jail, where the prisoners can safely wait for a ride. Warden Garry Haidle says prisoners get their cell phones back as they’re released; if the person asks to make a call before getting released, the jail lets them; and they even provide bus passes to town for people with no money.

Businesses hope to find a solution.
             
Jim Schlier says, “i feel something should be done about it.”

Because safety is the main concern, the businesses suggest installing sidewalks on Manor Drive. Since it is a state road, PennDOT is responsible for maintaining it. The Warden says because prisoners have access to a phone before getting released, he believes they show up to the businesses mainly to cash that money order. The Schlier’s say they’ve reached out to several elected officials about these issues. They’re hoping something can finally be done.

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