Fighting to Save SCI Retreat

NANTICOKE, Pa. -- “We're trying to save the prison so that my husband can stay working close to home,” Jolene M. said.

Jolene is just one wife of a corrections officer who is worried about the potential closure of SCI Retreat. She was joined by dozens of other wives at Nanticoke Area High School, all clinging to hope that the prison could stay open.

“Closing one more prison is a short-term band-aid for financial problems that we are having in the doc,” Leo Kaslel of the Service Employees International Union Counselors said.

Governor Wolf's office announced its proposal to shut down SCI Retreat in Newport Township as a way to cut budget costs and save money. But members of corrections officers unions ask, at what cost?

“We caution against savings that will put public safety and our corrections officers in jeopardy,” president of the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association Larry Blackwell said.

Those protesting the prison's closure add, this will only lead to overcrowding at other facilities, which makes a corrections officer's job more challenging.

Evan Nichol came dressed to support his grandma who has worked at SCI Retreat for more than ten years. His mom Sarah Nichol believes closing the prison would seriously hurt the Luzerne County economy.

“It needs to just stay. There's no need to disperse anything and just keep the money here in the community,” Sarah said.

The Department of Corrections says if SCI Retreat closes, its nearly 11 hundred inmates would be transferred to other state facilities, and all of its 384 employees would be guaranteed a job at another state prison within 65 miles. But Jolene wants her husband to be able to stay close to home.

“To keep everybody where they need to be close to their families and close to home,” Jolene said.

9 comments

  • Jessica Huffman

    Has anyone considered that perhaps the cost of keeping it open (maintenance and upkeep) could be prohibitive? Also, aren’t we moving toward non-incarceration for “crimes” that are addiction related? From what I’ve read, the state prison population has actually shrunk in PA. Perhaps that trend is another reason they are considering closing this place.

    • Giggity-MF-goo

      Jessica, your talking to much truth and factual stuff. We only like drama and “fake News” here on WNEP. Thank you thou, for your input (for eal)

      • lamestream r

        The real reason is because of the cost associated with paying the correction officers and other personnel. This is just a cost saving measure on all the overtime. They are counting on some of these correction officer not going elsewhere for their job and those that do will help out other prisons to reduce the overtime. Bottom line is the dollar over safety!

    • lamestream r

      There are cost associated with everything in life! They wanted this prison closed for many years and I believe it will happen this time. Wolf got his second term and there isn’t anything or anyone can do about it. Next, why not get rid of our Judicial system and replace it with an ankle bracelet system otherwise known as an honor system and get rid of all the prisons. Hell our Court system is so upside down take this example, they give harsher sentences for animal abuse cases than human cases!

  • lamestream r

    Democrats do not care about law enforcement, corrections, or any facility to do with holding illegal law breakers including ice detention centers! I get a kick about everyone complaining, you elected these clowns knowing that Democrats are by far anti-enforcement! You have no one to blame except yourselves! How is that democrat controlled union working for you now?

  • Bob Stevens

    Just close all the prisons, set the inmates free, register them democrat, and hook them up with housing and a state debit card. Handouts for everyone who doesn’t work, tax everything as high as possible, reallocate or pocket the money so infrastructure falls apart, then take all the guns from good people, strip their right to talk about it, and ban the oil & gas industry so the whole state turns into a leftist utopia dump…

    Did I miss anything else in your dream plan Gov Wolfie?

  • lickerblisters

    Isn’t calling a state prison a “retreat” an oxymoron? That would be like calling Camp Blisters a correctional facility. And of course, we all know it’s not. Camp Blisters is a adult utopian paradise nestled in a beautifully forested location of Pennsylvania.

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