Pennsylvania communities are benefiting from the return to county jails in the state of about 2,000 low-risk state inmates who had been housed in Michigan and Virginia. The decision by Gov. Ed Rendell’s administration was criticized because it sent money out of state and interfered with family visitation and reintegration of released inmates. Gov. Tom Corbett ordered the inmates returned and housed instead in county facilities.
The prisoners in Michigan have been back since May, and by March the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections expects that the 874 inmates in Virginia will be returned, as well. As of December, Pennsylvania had 51,600 state inmates and a capacity of just 48,300. Of those, 606 inmates are currently being held at 14 county facilities across Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania was paying Virginia $62 per day per inmate. That rate is less expensive than any of the state DOC facilities in Pennsylvania, which range from about $71 per day to $139. The county facilities charge between $47 and $60 per day.