HARRISBURG, DAUPHIN COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – According to a news release from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, officials will begin the temporary use of SCI Retreat in Newport Township as a reception facility for new male inmates and parole violators.
“Currently, we have no positive cases of COVID-19 in our state prison inmate population, and we are working to delay the virus entering our system,” DOC Secretary John Wetzel said. “This change in how we receive newly sentenced inmates and parole violators will reduce the number of ways individuals enter our system. With this plan, moving forward, only one facility will be involved, greatly reducing the ways the virus can enter our system.”
Officials will take the opportunity to reduce the inmate population at SCI Retreat by transferring inmates to other state prisons, while leaving a number of inmates to work in dietary and maintenance areas. Officials also are increasing medical staff and medical supplies at the facility.
Wetzel said the DOC receives approximately 150 new male inmates and parole violator returns statewide each week.
Female inmates will continue to be received at SCI Muncy and SCI Cambridge Springs. However, moving forward Muncy only will accept new commitments weekly on Tuesday and Thursday.
Additional steps being introduced to reduce the DOC’s inmate population include:
- Working with the parole board to maximize releases
- Reviewing parole detainers for individuals in county jails and state prisons
- Expediting the release process for anyone with a pending home plan
- Reviewing inmates within the state prison system who are beyond their minimum sentences
- Reducing the number of reentrants in halfway houses
- Giving each inmate released a medical screening and referring to doctors when appropriate