NEWPORT TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- The state is again in talks to close a state prison, this one in Luzerne County.
A state senator confirmed there is the possibility that SCI Retreat could be closed in an effort to balance the state’s budget.
SCI Retreat sits along Route 11 between Nanticoke and Shickshinny and is seen as one of the area's largest employer with more than 400 people working at the facility.
According to Democratic State Senator John Yudichak (14th District), there is a possibility the facility could be closed by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.
At restaurants near the prison, people say it would be detrimental to the area if that happens.
“I live in Shickshinny,” said Missy Mazonky at The Morris Family Restaurant. “We have no businesses in Shickshinny so and if they close the state prison, that's another business done, so what about our school taxes? There goes another thing.”
In a statement, Yudichak said Luzerne County is being tasked with the “…unfair burden of responsibility for balancing the (state) budget…”.
People say the closure would impact their own budget.
“Possibility, because they are in route on their way home from the prison here so we might have a drop in business because they might be picking up lunch for their families on their way home, you never know,” said Bob Belcher at Stookey’s Bar-B-Que.
“They come quite often, we have, and it's usually 5, 10 people at a time, they usually come and it would hurt our business, quite a bit,” said Mazonky.
Just two years ago, the state discussed closing three prisons, including SCI Retreat due to budget concerns.
At the time, all three prisons were spared.
In this potential closure, the corrections officers' union says it is happy there will be no layoffs but will continue to fight the prison's shuttering.
People believe that no layoffs to mean those officers would likely be transferred to another prison.
“My brother-in-law works at the prison, so I mean, they have their homes here and if they have to transfer elsewhere, that's not good,” said Mazonky.
The Department of Corrections plans to issue a news release on Thursday detailing its budget issues.
The governor's office isn't commenting.