Pa. prison to eliminate public trash cans to reduce contraband

The move was sparked by the recent discovery of a large bag of chewing tobacco hidden near one of the receptacles

By Jocelyn Brumbaugh
The Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, Pa.

EBENSBURG, Pa. — Cambria County Prison officials are in the process of eliminating all public trash cans at the facility, a decision that was sparked by the recent discovery of a large bag of chewing tobacco hidden near one of the receptacles.

During a Cambria County Prison Board meeting Wednesday, Warden Christian Smith said the bag of chewing tobacco was left near a lobby trash can, presumably intended for an inmate.

Inmates' attempts to have members of the public drop off contraband inside the facility is nothing new, Smith said, but further investigation and changes in internal procedures should eliminate the issue in the lobby.

All public trash cans outside the Manor Drive facility and inside its lobby have been removed, Smith said, and electric hand dryers have been ordered to eliminate the need for trash cans in the lobby's public restrooms.

"If we can get rid of the hiding places, we can get rid of the contraband," he said.

The recent loss of heat in one of the prison's housing units has also been corrected, Smith added.

A malfunction in two of the facility's heat pumps lead prison officials to move inmates in the affected housing unit to other areas of the prison Dec. 27, Smith said, when temperatures outside began to sink below zero.

Due to the holiday season, Smith said there was a delay in receiving parts to fix the problem, but the issue was corrected and inmates were returned to the housing unit Jan. 5.

©2018 The Tribune-Democrat (Johnstown, Pa.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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