Despite past activism and lawsuits on the issue of prison overcrowding, the reality is that it's still a huge problem in Pennsylvania, and a real solution -- one that would take into account the problems with sentencing, mental illness, and institutionalized racism -- is not at hand. Carl Rotenberg, of the Norristown Times Herald, reports:
The statewide union representing Pennsylvania prison guards is worried about the effect of inmate overcrowding, proposed construction plans for three new prisons and staffing plans by corrections officials that could impact their membership.
“The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections projects a population increase of 17 percent in the prisons by 2011,” said Donald G. McNany, president of the Pennsylvania Corrections Officers Association. “That is four years from now.”
“Their solution is to build three new prisons and demolish three old prisons,” McNany said, “but functionally that does not increase the overall prison capacity.”
McNany visited the Herald's offices as part of a PR push. But DOC sec'y Jeffrey Beard told the newspaper after the visit that closing old prisons isn't in the current plans: "[That's] in the distant future because we are over 5,000 inmates overcrowded and we just reopened our oldest facility.”