Millions slated for closed Pa. prisons

The closures affect about 800 workers


By Brad Bumstead
Pittsburgh Tribune Review

HARRISBURG — The Department of Corrections plans to spend $5.5 million annually on two prisons it is closing and will issue contracts to private companies for their maintenance and security, the state corrections commissioner said Tuesday.

Corrections officers from Greensburg attending a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing gasped and groaned at the news.

"To me it's totally disrespectful," said Keith Graft, a corrections officer at SCI Greensburg, which along with SCI Cresson will close by June 30 under the department's plan. Graft and other officers also were upset because Corrections Secretary John Wetzel left the hearing after being the first person to testify. Officers believe the maintenance jobs should go to their co-workers who can't relocate and will lose their state jobs.

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