A local lawmaker is concerned that the possible closure of a nearby state prison may be politically motivated.
According to State Representative Tedd Nesbit, “I was blindsided by it. A lot of the northwestern representatives had just taken a tour a few weeks ago. And we went out to the facility, and given no indication that this was on the radar screen. And I just worry that this is a snap decision that hasn’t been thought through properly. And as a conservative, I think we do need to look at ways of saving money and reforming government. I just want to make sure that this is the right way to do it. I’m just really worried that this is a political decision rather an economic decision, and I don’t think that it’s a good thing to use politics instead of good public policy.”
Nesbit, who represents parts of Mercer and Butler Counties in Harrisburg, made his comments earlier this week concerning the possible closure of the State Correctional Institution in Mercer. According to Nesbit, the decision could have a negative economic impact on local communities.
The State Department of Corrections Secretary announced last week that the agency plans to close two prisons by the middle of 2017. Five prisons are being considered for closure including one in Mercer and another in Allegheny County.
Every affected employee will be offered a position elsewhere in the Department of Corrections. A decision is expected by January 26th.
Written by Ryan Saeler