By Roxanne Squires
COAL TOWNSHIP, Pa. – Northumberland County has officially cut the ribbon to their new replacement facility after a fire devastated their previous correctional facility more than three years ago.
Northumberland County officials has been without a center for its correctional system, made to borrow space from the state for inmates. County Commissioners officials Rick Shoch and Sam Schiccatano worked to open the new facility after going back and forth between properties before deciding on a spot near Shamokin, an isolated area that is also a former site to a juvenile facility.
The new facility has the capacity to hold 282 inmates including 206 males and 76 females inmates while also offering a 65-bed drug rehabilitation facility. Shoch stated that the goal is to rehabilitate inmates, not just imprison them, a point that neighboring county leaders recognized as the true potential of the facility and surrounding land, as reported by the Daily Item.
The building uses both cells and dorm style rooms, which are granted to inmates with good behavior. There is also a common area with a television as well as a communal bathroom.
Project contractor Alexander Building Construction of Harrisburg, Pa., stated that the total cost of the final project is $31.7 million while the original projected cost was estimated at $32.6 million, ultimately boasting a nearly $1 million in cost savings.
The facility currently employs 40 full-time workers, including approximately 30 correctional officers, as reported by the Standard Journal. Approximately 30 more correctional officers are expected to be hired in the near future.
There will be a 30-day transition period to train staff and ensure that all equipment and security systems are functioning properly. The facility is slated to be fully operational by October.
Reports from the Daily Item and the Standard Journal contributed to this story.