State Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) today released the following statement regarding the news that the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections will not be closing the State Correctional Institute (SCI) at Waymart and two other NEPA prisons.
“I am relieved and encouraged that SCI Waymart was spared the fate of being closed by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections,” he said. “This means, for the immediate future, that over 700 jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of economic impact will not be lost in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Further, the specialized services and mental health treatment sorely needed within our state’s Corrections system will be maintained at Waymart.”
Senator Blake, working in concert with Lackawanna County state Representatives Sid Kavulich, Marty Flynn, Kevin Haggerty and Mike Carroll, spearheaded online petitions to save SCI Waymart that garnered more than 4,000 signatures. The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce strongly supported Sen. Blake in his efforts to keep the prison open, including sending a letter to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of the Department of Corrections John Wetzel and forwarding Sen. Blake’s petition to its entire member database.
“We are pleased to learn that the Wolf administration has recognized the importance of The State Correctional Institute at Waymart to the Commonwealth and the region,” said Chamber President Bob Durkin. “The concerted call to action on this matter from so many individuals and organizations was an amazing lesson in positive community engagement. Further, in light of the state budget challenges that triggered this effort, we are confident that the leadership of the facility will look for operational efficiencies that will reduce the overall cost of corrections on the taxpayers.”
The Department of Corrections announced that due to budget constraints it will close SCI Pittsburgh by July 2017.
For a full statement from Sen. John Blake, click here.