Prison overcrowding still an issue

Overcrowding at the Lycoming County Prison has been steady since the beginning of the year, according to figures Warden Kevin DeParlos reviewed for the prison board on Friday.

DeParlos’ monthly report listed the average daily population of male and female prisoners for January and February at 369, falling only slightly to 364 for the month of March.

The peak population has been hovering at or near 380 since the first of the year, coming in at 382 in January, 384 in February and 379 in March.

They are numbers of concern for the county prison system, which sent 17 male prisoners in February and 15 in March to the Clinton County Correctional Facility because of lack of space and resources here.

The female population also is in danger of feeling the effects of overcrowding, DeParlos said.

“We’re facing challenges with the female population,” he said, noting that, as of this week, Columbia County prison is the only nearby facility that can take female inmates.

Neither Tioga, Clinton nor Centre counties can accommodate additional female inmates, he said.

Relief could come in the form of a day-reporting center that has been the topic of discussion for several months. The board had submitted a use-variance application to the city zoning hearing board to use a portion of the Executive Plaza building for the center.

The application recently was rejected, county Commissioner Tony Mussare said, but the board plans to appeal.

In personnel matters, the board approved the hirings of Kayla Null as full-time correctional officer relief at a rate of $14.71 per hour, effective Feb. 27, and Christopher Rundio as full-time pre-release center resident supervisor at a rate of $16.10 per hour, effective March 30.

The measure was approved by a vote of 4-0. Voting in favor were Mussare and fellow Commissioners Jeff Wheeland and Ernie Larson. Chief Deputy Sheriff Curtis Ulmer voted in favor on behalf of Sheriff Mark Lusk. Controller Krista Rogers, Judge Nancy Butts, District Attorney Eric Lindhart and Lusk were absent.

The board meets next at 8:30 a.m. May 9 at the Lycoming County Courthouse, 48 W. Third St.