Barletta & Yudichak Statements Regarding Potential Closure of SCI Retreat
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) and state Sen. John Yudichak (14th District) today issued statements regarding the potential closure of the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution at Retreat (SCI Retreat). The administration of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced on Friday, January 6, 2017 that two state prisons would be closed out of a pool of five under consideration, including SCI Retreat. The administration announced that the final decision on which two prisons to close would be made on January 26, 2017.
In his Washington, DC office, Barletta today met with Pennsylvania Corrections Secretary John Wetzel to discuss the situation at SCI Retreat, which employs approximately 400 residents of Luzerne County and the surrounding area. Additionally, since the news of the potential closure broke, Barletta has been in consultation with Sen. Yudichak.
Barletta’s statement is as follows:
“When news of the potential loss of 400 local jobs strikes like lightning out of the blue, I think it’s a good idea to take a deep breath and carefully consider all of the implications of closing SCI Retreat. The Wolf Administration’s announcement caught the community by surprise and there is an understandable amount of concern and uncertainty among the employees and their families. Eliminating so many jobs so suddenly would have a severe impact – not just on those families, but on the entire local economy.
“I thank Secretary Wetzel for taking the time to meet with me. I expressed to him my support for SCI Retreat, as well as my concern about the short timeline of the initial announcement and the anticipated final decision. It is my understanding that an economic impact study is commencing, and I have asked that it be completed and fully considered before any prison is targeted for closure. The Pennsylvania budgeting process stretches on until June of this year, and so I fail to see why there needs to be any rush to a decision. I asked Secretary Wetzel to convey my concerns to Gov. Wolf and asked that the administration slow the process down so that a careful and thorough examination of all the facts can take place.”
Yudichak’s statement is as follows:
“The arbitrary deadline of January 26 imposed by the Department of Corrections to close two state prisons is unrealistic and impedes efforts to find more cost efficiencies to deal with the fiscal challenges of the state budget. Delaying all prison closure decisions to June 30 will allow for public hearings, a thorough economic analysis, and give our federal representatives sufficient time to work with the DOC to find cost savings for both the state and federal prison systems.”