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Prison inmate numbers, county caseloads on the rise

The Lycoming County Prison population is gradually increasing as are caseloads for trial judges and adult probation officers.

In a frank discussion Friday, Brad Shoemaker, county warden, told the county prison board the rise since July is not as impactful as last June, but is noticed.

He offered no reason for the increase to 386 inmates as of October.

In the courts, President Judge Nancy L. Butts said factors such as following schedules, rules and a lack of a re-entry coordinator are being felt.

She added the former worker’s presence in re-entry was a mitigating factor. Her position was a direct correlation to the number of individuals who return to court after prison sentences, Butts said.

Commissioner Rick Mirabito said, while Butts hasn’t asked for money, it may be possible to locate it or find a grant.

Mirabito called for a broadbased review of areas where expenses could be lowered and efficiency kept intact.

One adult probation supervisor noted caseloads, including more than 450 for one probation officer, is “unmanageable.”

Commissioner Tony Mussare said the overall efforts by prison and judiciary personnel to reduce costs while facing pressures of increase inmates and caseloads relates to expense of the taxpayers face.

The county has projected a budget deficit while having to take a hard look at how to manage the prison system, Mussare said.

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