Pennsylvania to send 2,000 inmates to other states
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HARRISBURG -- Faced with an ever-growing problem of prison overcrowding, state prison officials have decided to move 2,000 inmates to prisons in two other states -- 1,000 going to Michigan and another 1,000 to Virginia.
Prisoners will begin moving out no later than February, Susan McNaughton, spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections said today.
Some will go to a vacant prison in Muskegon, Mich., and the rest will go to a prison in Chatham, Va. Those sent to the two other states will be inmates who get no or few visitors and those with no serious, ongoing medical or mental health problems.
The cost will be $62 per day per inmate, or a total cost of $124,000 per day for all 2,000 inmates. Pennsylvania officials hope to begin bringing the inmates back by 2013, when four new prisons have been completed here, each holding 2,000 inmates. If the 2,000 inmates stay in Michigan and Virginia for three years, it will cost Pennsylvania $135 million.
Currently the prison population, for the 27 state prisons, is 51,400, up from 45,000 just a few years ago. The state plans to build one new prison in Centre County, one in Fayette County and two in Montgomery County. Ground is to be broken for the Centre County facility in six months.
In addition to the 2,000 inmates going to the other states, there are 512 state prisoners in county jails in Pennsylvania.
More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
First Published December 21, 2009 2:36 pm