SCRANTON – Former State Senator Bob Mellow of Lackawanna County is finishing the remainder of his federal prison sentence at a halfway house in Scranton.
He is at St. James Manor on Wyoming Avenue, a halfway house to a small number of state and federal inmates nearing the end of their criminal sentences.
Mellow has been at St. James past two weeks.
The former Lackawanna County state senator was moved back to Lackawanna County, on election day.
It is here near downtown Scranton, where Mellow is wrapping up his 16-month federal prison term after pleading guilty last year to filing a false tax return, and using state-paid staffers to perform political work.
“How is your health?” asked Action 16 Investigative Reporter Dave Bohman when he caught up to Mellow leaving the halfway house. “Very good thank you,” replied Mellow.
The 71-year-old`s health was a concern at his sentencing last November.
His lawyer claimed Mellow suffered from a serious heart condition.
And according to a federal court transcript from a July hearing, Mellow was under “a great deal of stress” and “lost 35 pounds” after a few months in prison.
The halfway house may not have the amenities of home for a former state senator who once earned an $11,000 a month state pension. But an individual who stayed here said it has to be better a than a federal prison.
“It was more like a dorm situation,” said Ron Tucker of Old Forge, who lived at St. James Manor in 2005, when he was a homeless veteran.
Homeless Vets needing temporary housing live on a separate floor of the facility, but occasionally mingle with halfway house inmates.
Tucker says most inmates found life here less stressful than prison.
“You still had the opportunity to go out during the day as long as they sign in sign out,” said the former Army Captain. “You have to keep constant contact with their staff.”
Tucker says all inmates at the halfway house are supposed to work during daytime hours.
“Where are you working?” Bohman asked Mellow as he got into a car to head off to his new job. “You`ll have to ask them (the staff) inside (St. James),” Mellow replied, not saying where he worked, or what he is doing.
Mellow is expected to remain at St. James Manor until March 15th, 2014. Then he`s likely to be free but will face he faces state charges connected to a what the Pennsylvania Attorney General`s Office calls a bid rigging scheme involving construction contracts with the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
Mellow has pleaded not guilty to those charges.