The state Department of Corrections has announced the closure of two state prisons in our area. SCI Greensburg, located in Hempfield Township, will close, along with SCI Cresson, which is located in Cambria County.
In their place, the state plans to open a new 2,000-bed prison in Benner Township, Centre County. State officials say SCI Greensburg and SCI Cresson have the highest vacancy rates in the state prison system. Corrections Secretary John Wetzel will make a formal announcement of the closures at 2 p.m. today in Harrisburg. More than 400 people work at the prison near Greensburg, which is located off Route 119.
The prison, which is a medium security facility for men, housed more than 980 inmates at the end of last year, an occupancy rate of just more than 86 percent. The prison in Cresson houses around 1,500 inmates, for an occupancy rate of more than 89 percent. Officials in both Cambria and Westmoreland County say they haven’t been given a timetable for the closure of the prisons. It’s not clear how many employees at the prisons will be impacted, but Sen. John Wozniak says they will be offered jobs within a 50-mile radius of the prisons.