Pennsylvania state prisons in Pittsburgh and Waynesburg will be closed in August unless unions for corrections officers persuade Gov. Ed Rendell to keep them open, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
Roy C. Pinto, the vice president of the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association, said union officials will meet today on the issue with Rendell and Corrections Secretary Jeffrey A. Beard. “We need the cell space,” Pinto said. The Pittsburgh prison is a maximum security institution in Woods Run; Waynesburg is a minimum security prison, one of two in Greene County.
Pinto argued at a legislative hearing that, with the system already operating at 120 percent of capacity, it made no sense to close institutions. But Beard said budget cuts make it necessary and that newer facilities can be operated for less money. Two new state prisons, built at a cost of $127 million, are opening next year. As of yesterday, there were 40,700 inmates in the system, which is meant to hold roughly 35,000 inmates.