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Corrections Officers Rally to Save Prisons

HARRISBURG — Dozens of corrections officers from our area traveled to Harrisburg Monday. They held a rally, demanding the governor delay the Department of...
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HARRISBURG -- Dozens of corrections officers from our area traveled to Harrisburg Monday. They held a rally, demanding the governor delay the Department of Corrections Thursday deadline when it plans to announce which two state prisons will close.

State corrections officers at those five prisons have been concerned about their livelihoods since the Department of Corrections announced that it was planning to close two prisons.

In just three days, the department expects to announce its decision, despite union members rallying at the Capitol in protest.

Their signs read, "Save our communities," and, "Save our jobs."

Corrections officers from the five prisons on the list for possible closure gathered inside the Capitol rotunda in Harrisburg. They called on Governor Tom Wolf to force the Department of Corrections to delay Thursday's announcement about which two prisons will close.

"Stop this decision and stop compromising public safety," said Mark Truszkowski, corrections officers union.

Also there supporting corrections officers were state lawmakers from both sides of the aisle.

"If you're making a decision that's involving thousands of individuals, tens of millions of dollars, you need to take your time and do it right," said Sen. David Argall, (R) Schuylkill County.

"All we're asking the Department of Corrections to do, stop the rush to judgment of closing these prisons. Stop the rush to judgment," said Sen. John Yudichak, (D) Luzerne County.

State prisons in Luzerne, Wayne, and Schuylkill Counties are among those that could be closed.

Union members say the DOC did not ask them or the public for input, so some state senators held their own hearing on the prison closures before the rally. Officials with the Department of Corrections say they still plan to make an announcement on Thursday however.

Governor Wolf says the state can safely close two prisons because there are fewer inmates around the state. He also says that prison workers affected by the closures will be offered jobs at other state prisons.

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