Jerry Sandusky is now with the worst of the worst.
The former Penn State University assistant football coach who was convicted in June of sexually abusing 10 boys was moved Wednesday to the maximum-security State Correctional Institution at Greene near Waynesburg, which houses death row inmates. He is expected to be kept there in a cell by himself for the rest of his life.
The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections on Wednesday announced the move, saying that Sandusky will be held in protective custody, meaning he will remain in his cell 22 to 23 hours per day. He will eat his meals there and be allowed out to exercise for an hour by himself five days a week, and will be able to shower three times per week.
Any religious or counseling services will be provided in his cell, and all of his visits will be non-contact.
Inmates in protective custody also must have additional supervision and escort whenever they are moved out of their cells.
"We make individual decisions based on facts. Given the high-profile nature of this individual, coupled with the nature of his crimes, this makes him very vulnerable in a prison setting," said Corrections Secretary John Wetzel.
Sandusky is serving 30 to 60 years in prison after being sentenced last month for 45 criminal counts.
Dennis Giever, a criminology professor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, said that child abusers can be very much at risk from the rest of an inmate population. Sometimes, he said, other inmates target those offenders to earn credibility in prison. "In prison, they are the lowest on the totem pole," Mr. Giever said. "Everybody's going to know him, and everybody's going to want to take a shot at him."
Corrections spokeswoman Susan McNaughton said SCI Greene specializes in single-celled inmates. The restricted housing unit he will be in is very secure, she said, with only authorized staff working there.
Mr. Giever had guessed that Sandusky would be housed at the State Correctional Institution at Cresson, which includes a sex offender unit. He suspects that SCI Greene, with its high level of security, will have additional resources in place -- such as more cameras, more highly trained staff and larger numbers -- to ensure no one can get to Sandusky. Often, Mr. Giever said, an inmate can later request to be taken out of protective custody, but Ms. McNaughton said Sandusky cannot opt out, though his status will be reviewed regularly by the prison superintendent.
SCI Greene opened in 1994 and houses nearly 1,800 inmates.
Paula Reed Ward: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-2620. First Published November 1, 2012 4:00 AM