Governor Wolf Announces Prison Inmate Population Drops for Fourth Consecutive Year After Record Reduction

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first_img January 22, 2018 Efficiency,  Press Release,  Prison Reform,  Public Safety Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf announced today that the number of inmates in the Pennsylvania state prison system dropped for the fourth consecutive calendar year, according to new statistics released by the Department of Corrections (DOC).In 2017, the total DOC inmate population dropped from 49,301 to 48,438, a decrease of 863 inmates or 1.8 percent over 2016.“The 2017 calendar year reduction represents the single largest year-over-year decrease of inmate population on record,” Governor Wolf said. “I am pleased that our efforts and initiatives are making a measurable difference in improving our prison population numbers, while reducing crime, supporting those reentering our communities, and lowering costs.”After decades of growth that more than doubled the number of prisons in Pennsylvania, the inmate population has declined by 6.4 percent, or 3,319 inmates, since June 2012, allowing for the 2017 closure of SCI Pittsburgh and accompanying significant cost savings.“This latest reduction in the inmate population, combined with the crime rate decline, indicates that a broad range of bi-partisan criminal justice initiatives being undertaken across Pennsylvania are working for our citizens,” said Corrections Secretary John Wetzel. “We believe further reductions in the inmate population, lower agency costs and decreases in the crime rate, are possible moving forward as part of the consolidation with the Board of Probation and Parole and the second round of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative.”Wetzel said legislation proposed under the initiative would also expand victims’ rights to require police officers to provide victim services information at the scene of a crime, require prosecutors to notify the Victim Advocate on behalf of personal injury crime victims and increase compensation for crime victims.In the decade before the first Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) began in 2012, the DOC population was increasing by an average of 1,262 inmates per year. The Justice Reinvestment Initiative is aimed at reducing the prison population through criminal justice reform and directing the savings to help counties enhance public safety which also further sustains prison population reductions.Better coordination between the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole and DOC has played a key role in driving the reduction, along with the invalidation by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2015 of many mandatory minimum sentencing penalties, said Bret Bucklen, the department’s director of planning, research, and statistics.Luis Rosa, deputy secretary of reentry, credited interagency cooperation and said technology has improved parole processes.“The use of electronic information sharing, enhances our abilities to apply data driven, outcome focused principles, which are the centerpiece of evidence based practice applications,” said Rosa. “Not only was the prison population reduced, but our case management quality was improved through the use of staff reentry trainings.”Christian Stephens, deputy secretary of field supervision, said several recent initiatives have allowed field operations to safely increase the number of reentrants it can manage leading to more efficient and expedited release process.“We are utilizing proven evidence-based practices, which preserve public safety, such as lowering the caseload ratios by hiring over 150 new agents in the past 18 months, increasing use of GPS, and fully implementing the use of the contact report, which assists our agents in the prioritization of their work,” said Stephens.Among the legislative proposals under the second phase of Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI2) are the introduction of “presumptive parole,” where short-term, non-violent offenders are automatically paroled upon completion of their minimum sentence, the expansion of the State Intermediate Punishment (SIP) program, which offers shorter sentences for drug offenders, combined with substance use disorder treatment and enacting a short sanctioning option for technical parole violators, such as the Swift, Certain, and Fair (SCF) approach.The main driver of the population decrease in 2017 was a large reduction in parole violator admissions, which dropped by 10.2 percent in 2017, said Bucklen. And further inmate population reductions and additional cost savings are possible if the continued reforms are implemented.“If we move forward with these proposals, we are projecting a reduction of another roughly 2,500 inmates over the next 5 years, and a cost savings of approximately $91.7 million,” said Bucklen. Governor Wolf Announces Prison Inmate Population Drops for Fourth Consecutive Year After Record Reductioncenter_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitterlast_img read more


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first_imgPartnering with local public health agencies, community organizations, and the nonprofit community to expand Press Release,  Public Health As Pennsylvania plans to safely reopen the economy and recover from COVID-19, Governor Tom Wolf announced the creation of the Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps, a public service initiative that will support efforts this fall to increase testing and contact tracing and provide critical new job opportunities in the public health sector.“Our highest priority remains protecting public health and safety, but we must also look ahead to see how we can address future needs. To reopen our economy to its maximum potential, we will need to boost our ability to contain this highly transmissible virus,” Governor Wolf said. “The Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps will serve as a public service program that will expand our ability to conduct contact tracing and testing and mobilize Pennsylvanians to contain COVID-19.”The Wolf Administration’s continued measured and careful efforts to reopen Pennsylvania will depend on our ability to expand the availability of COVID-19 testing and develop a robust infrastructure to conduct surveillance and contact tracing. This work will allow Pennsylvanians to effectively monitor and respond to new cases and quantify mitigation efforts. It will help our phased reopening efforts while ensuring that the health care system does not become overwhelmed and that the transmission of disease continues to slow.As Pennsylvania plans to ramp up these efforts in the coming months, the Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps would bring these efforts to fruition by: May 06, 2020 SHARE Email Facebook Twittercenter_img Pennsylvania’s existing testing and contact tracing initiatives;Leveraging additional resources to fund testing and contact tracing initiatives;Exploring creative ways to recruit experienced Pennsylvanians with health care and public health experience to support this initiative; andCoordinating existing resources deployed by the commonwealth, including community health nurses and county health departments who are currently conducting testing and contact tracing throughout the state.The Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps will also provide for a unique opportunity for Pennsylvania to recruit and train COVID-19-impacted dislocated and unemployed workers into public service for contact tracing roles, which would address Pennsylvania’s health and economic needs.To foster this new workforce, the Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps would:Engage partners in the workforce development system, existing allied health training programs, and AmeriCorps programs to build and strengthen a public health workforce across the commonwealth;Leverage existing workforce development resources to recruit, train, and connect the public health workforce with employment opportunities; andEngage public health and health care employers to connect trained workers with long-term career opportunities.“We have all made many sacrifices throughout this crisis and all we share a desire to move forward toward a healthier, safer and more prosperous future,” Governor Wolf said. “Through this public service initiative, Pennsylvanians will have opportunities in the months ahead to join a collective effort to ensure that we emerge from this pandemic a stronger commonwealth.”View this information in Spanish. Gov. Wolf Outlines Plans to Create Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps to Support Fall COVID-19 Recovery Effortslast_img read more