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County faces costly prison problem

Officials look to programs to rein in inmate numbers

February 24, 2013

(EDITOR’S NOTE: How did the county get to a point where a relatively new prison lacks sufficient space to meet the demand for beds? The Sun-Gazette will explore that question and potential solutions......

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(25)

andy33

Feb-24-13 2:44 AM

Apparently we have more social problems than solutions. Something seems too funny about this situation.

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Tedeaux

Feb-24-13 5:32 AM

$40 million dollars is a lot of money to throw around for what amounts to less than 200 additional prison beds. I know this sounds contrary, but what if Lycoming county had a larger law enforcement presence? It might reduce the arrest rate in the county by letting the right people see that their chances of getting caught here is too great and they should move on down the line.

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LaughIn

Feb-24-13 5:45 AM

What we have is a society that simply has little to no respect for the law. We have a president who would like to unravel the constitution and walk into our private homes and take our investments. Last time I checked, people were suppose to earn their keep, not live off of those who do. Every inmate can earn their right to food and shelter through labor. Maybe those doing extended time can help pay for the new facility by working? They use to call it hard labor or chain gangs, not couch potatoes with microwave at the cost to the taxpayers.

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CarlHiller

Feb-24-13 6:30 AM

I have not much positive to say about any consulting from a private firm for government issues, they always tend to cost more than the advice was worth. The issue isn't about a larger jail, it's about enforcement of existing laws which means increased police presence. With stronger enforcement those who tend to break the law will think twice before committing an offense. The $40 million that will be spent will actually increase substantially, probably two-fold, once the construction phase begins. That $40 million would be better used by floating a bond issue and giving grants to the local police forces and the sheriffs office to put more law enforcement personnel on the streets.

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eriklatranyi

Feb-24-13 7:39 AM

First, if we are running out of beds because of DUI arrests, the problem is on the processing end.

DUI arrests could be processed same-day, eliminating the need for a bed.

Nobody is mentioning our slow court system. Even the President Judge does not see the slow court as a problem and seems to have no interest in addressing it.

If DUI cases are creating the bottleneck, then a new approach could be taken in this single area.

Perhaps a special DUI court and judge could be created to process the majority on the day they are arrested. Revoke their license and send them home by taxi.

Then, add more police and another judge for the regular court system.

This approach should reduce the demand for holding people overnight.

7 Agrees | 1 Disagrees | Report Abuse »

ToTEXASfromPA

Feb-24-13 7:55 AM

eriklatranyi,

Assembly line, same day sentencing; I like it. Jack-up the fine and maybe people will think about it before they do it.

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spike2

Feb-24-13 7:59 AM

Increasing police would involve the city, the municipalities and state. Look at that potential cost. D.U.I. cases could not be resolved in one day. DUI is a criminal charge and all defendants have a right to counsel. We already have DUI Court. Some inmates remain and serve maximum sentences because they do not have a home plan. Treatment courts are a huge benefit but would like to see recidivism rates. The cost will be high no matter which avenue or combination thereof is used.

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acrman

Feb-24-13 8:01 AM

release the d u i offenders, to make more room.

5 Agrees | 2 Disagrees | Report Abuse »

jeff33

Feb-24-13 8:10 AM

"INFLUX"

3 Agrees | 3 Disagrees | Report Abuse »

slickthedryfly

Feb-24-13 8:12 AM

I know it won't reduce crime, but the Sun should post MUGSHOTS of everybody that goes through the prison doors daily in hopes that people will want to keep their picture out of the newspaper.

5 Agrees | 4 Disagrees | Report Abuse »

JasonTaxYourFeet

Feb-24-13 8:38 AM

Problem- too many criminals. Solution- let them serve out their sentence in their home county, or charge their home county the incarceration costs for housing them.

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Billtown101

Feb-24-13 8:46 AM

Actually, the REAL question is; WHO has been mismanaging the Lycoming County Prison system, here in Williamsport? WHO has overlooked, turned a blind-eye, turned their back, or picked-up that fat envelope, when they SHOULD have been making Decisions in accordance to their position, pay-grade, and the PUBLIC TRUST! - SOME of us are not so naive, as to believe Everything that is spit-out by the media. We know, that when crime goes down, prison population goes up. WOW, what a concept! Prison is a BUSINESS and an Investment opportunity! In 2008, At least 37 states have legalized the contracting of prison labor by private corporations that mount their operations inside state prisons. Thanks to prison labor, the United States is once again an attractive location for investment in work that was designed for Third World labor markets. It's makes GREAT Business Sense.

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tacosalad

Feb-24-13 8:49 AM

Growing up outside of Pennsylvania, when I came to the area about 9 years ago I was shocked to see that the city did not operate a jail. In Lycoming County, there is one stop: LCP. In other areas, prison is for offenders staying several nights- maybe sentences over 2 weeks. Jail is a city run enterprise for those serving short times like DUI arrests, non-payment of child support, and those innocent until proven guilty. The county could shift costs outward by letting local municipalities hold their own problems. Jails should not need the same supervision ratio, reducing staffing costs. Residents do not need access to all the same long-term programs. Operation costs fall. I realize it would require local jails to be built, but once they are...

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ajcdds

Feb-24-13 12:37 PM

"The county prison ... has 255 beds and no room for expansion" (Sun Gazette 2/9/13) ... BALDERDASH!!! There is room for a 4 floor 40,000 Sq. Ft. expansion, without disruption to the current building. After that completion, an additional two-floor expansion could be accomplished on the two floor sections of the current building (Potential for another 10K Sq. Ft.). The parking lot used for the expansion could be replaced across the Street on land that is currently for sale. They are requesting space for 93 additional inmates. For that requirement, 70 Sq. Ft. is needed for cells + 35 Sq. Ft. for dayrooms - per inmate. That totals 10K Sq. Ft., leaving 30K - 40K Sq. Ft. for hallways and offices.... or better yet more cell space expansion. A new County prison in today’s money at $40 Mil.... sounds like big government as usual. Decrease the population first ... then build an addition if it is truly needed.

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andy33

Feb-24-13 12:47 PM

Exactly why do these people [criminals] deserve more of our tax money...

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eric88

Feb-24-13 3:31 PM

Simple!! Stop locking up for child support! It is asinine for the property owners of lycoming county to incur the entire burden due to family matters! Save the prisons for criminals! Is it that hard to comprehend?

Hey Sun Gazette journalists, in your article try printing an actual classification of current criminals. Maybe educate your readers and open some eyes.

Just very tired as a responsible citizen and taxpayer of paying the price for some trollips "revenge on the ex decision-- family matters/not criminal)" issue.

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ray6770

Feb-24-13 10:41 PM

How does the prison get so full people do what ever they want in my area they don't even try to hide it and they never get arrested.

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ray6770

Feb-24-13 10:42 PM

???

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kcajstewart

Feb-25-13 3:31 AM

Because the justice system is unjust.

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jeff33

Feb-25-13 7:43 AM

The ones in charge want everything out on the farm!

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MrShaman

Feb-25-13 8:18 AM

"Findings from the county-hired consultant show that the inmate population between the prison and the Pre-Release Center at 546 County Farm Road will increase more than 23 percent during the next 15 years.

Between the two detention facilities, 360 beds are available. By 2027, projections show that the average daily prison population will be 468."

*

Short of hiring Miss Cleo, as a consultant, how can anyone be so sure of such projections??

Also, what can a MIAMI-based correctional planning company POSSIBLY know about this part o' the Country, regarding any future prison head-count??

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MrShaman

Feb-25-13 8:26 AM

"Apparently we have more social problems than solutions." - andy33

*

You'd expect less, from a Florida-interest...a state that eclipses Texas, when the Death Penalty is discussed.

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MrShaman

Feb-25-13 8:30 AM

"What we have is a society that simply has little to no respect for the law. We have a president who would like to unravel the constitution and walk into our private homes and take our investments." - LaughIn

*

You couldn't have picked a more-appropriate name.

0 Agrees | 3 Disagrees | Report Abuse »

MrShaman

Feb-25-13 8:37 AM

"Prison is a BUSINESS and an Investment opportunity!" - Billtown101

*

...Which would explain an ENGINEERING and ARCHITECTURAL firm's input, regarding "projections" of drunken-driving rates.

0 Agrees | 2 Disagrees | Report Abuse »

USABorn

Feb-25-13 7:25 PM

Poor planning!!!!

1 Agrees | 0 Disagrees | Report Abuse »

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