Brookline – January 26, 2017 – State Sen. Wayne D. Fontana (D-Allegheny) issued the following statement in response to today’s state Department of Corrections decision to close SCI-Pittsburgh:

“I’m very disappointed in the Department of Corrections decision — as well as the hasty and flawed process it used to make its decision.

“In its rush to close SCI-Pittsburgh, the department largely ignored community input, the plight of local prison workers and the impact that this closing will have on our region’s economy. It’s important to emphasize that the department refused to hold or take part in a local hearing to respond to citizens’ questions and concerns. I will continue to push for my legislation to require public hearings in order to make this right for workers, families and communities who have to go through this process in the future.

“With this decision in place, it is now imperative that we take steps to protect the jobs of our prison workers and see to it that their safety is not compromised under this consolidated prison plan. I will insist that the Corrections Officers Association have a seat at the table in determining the procedure for transferring employees. I will also urge the Department of Corrections to help workers and their families with relocation costs.

“Finally, with the support of the Allegheny County legislative delegation, we will work with the governor on his commitment to provide ample state funding and resources to help us redevelop and market that 24-acre property to build on the North Side’s continued resurgence. A positive side of this promised reinvestment is to get the property removed from its tax-exempt status which will help lessen the burden on local taxpayers.” 

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