Senator Greenleaf Praises Prison Closure

Today, State Senator Stewart J. Greenleaf (R, Montgomery, Bucks) praised the Wolf Administration’s announcement to close SCI Pittsburgh.  The Department of Corrections estimates that the closure will save the Commonwealth approximately $81 million annually.

Senator Greenleaf said, “With recently enacted criminal justice reforms that have shifted the focus from incarceration to treatment and community supervision for non-violent offenders, this is a natural and logical next step.  Pennsylvania’s inmate population is on the decline as well as the crime rate, and I anticipated this appropriate response from the administration.  I look forward to working with the Governor to further criminal justice reforms and continue to invest in best practices that will enhance our progress through the second round of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative.”

During a Senate hearing on Monday, Senator Greenleaf stated, “Let’s get efficient, we have hundreds of millions of dollars in [a budget] deficit that we don’t have the money for right now—we have to balance our budget and this is one way of doing that.  I know it’s hard to shut down a prison, but when it’s required, we have to do it.”

Senator Greenleaf was the author of the Criminal Justice Reform Act of 2012, the chief vehicle of modern prison reform in the Commonwealth that prioritized rehabilitation over incarceration for drug offenders.

The Senator is currently pursuing a reduction in mandatory minimum sentences through his SB 63, which is presented as both a significant cost saving measure and a means of allowing judges to use discretion when a mandatory is found to be unfair.

Contact:  Aaron Zappia 215-657-7700 azappia@pasen.gov