County correctly moving forward on day-reporting center

It’s not the complete answer for Lycoming County’s chronic prison overcrowding, but a day reporting center is clearly being seen as a big step forward to solving the problem.

The county government leadership recently applied for a $150,000 grant to help pay for the operation of such a center and has pinpointed a portion of its Pine Street Executive Plaza building as a possible location to house a day-reporting center.

The county is meeting this week with GEO Group Inc., a company which specializes in managing day-reporting centers. Should GEO or whoever manages the center not want it located in the Executive Plaza, the county would look elsewhere.

But this much seems clear: The county is intent on having a day-reporting center to help solve its prison overcrowding problem.

And that’s as it should be. Besides reducing prison overcrowding, a day-reporting center would help rehabilitate nonviolent offenders.

And it would save money.

How much?

The cost per person at the day-reporting center would be $31 or $32 a day. It costs $65 to $70 a day to house inmates out of the county. And that happens a lot. On a recent Friday, 23 inmates were transported out of county.

Best of all, there is plenty of evidence that a day-reporting center reduces the recidivism rate, which is the ultimate point of a corrections system. The GEO Group’s average rate of reducing recidivism is 67 percent.

We understand the trepidation associated with a day-reporting center. There is a natural apprehension whenever inmates are doing anything other than serving prison time.

But if it helps reduce the chances of imates returning to prison in the future and keeps the county from having to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on a new prison facility, a day-reporting center is a major plus that must be pursued.