HARRISBURG, January 27, 2017 – Senator Art Haywood today released a statement on the recent announcement on closure of a Pennsylvania prison in the Pittsburgh area.

“As I have stated repeatedly, the cost of mass incarceration in Pennsylvania is unsustainable, over $2 billion a year. We don’t have the money to pay for it. The cost of prisons is now greater than colleges and universities in the state budget. I support the decrease in the number of prisons in Pennsylvania that can be achieved safely.

The destruction of families and communities from mass incarceration is unbearable.

Our crime rates are dropping and prisoner numbers are following suit. We simply do not need the same number of facilities to house a declining prison population.

The closure of the prison will save Pennsylvanians an estimated $80 million. In addition, the Department of Corrections has assured us that the closure will not negatively impact public safety or the safety of prison employees. Staff will be reassigned and safe their jobs.

At the same time, as Senator Wayne Fontana noted, the selection process was imperfect. I share Senator Fontana’s concerns and his hope that the prison site can be redeveloped for commercial uses and ultimately prove beneficial for Allegheny County residents.”