Nanticoke, January 13, 2017 − State Senator John T. Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) and State Representative Gerald Mullery (D-Newport Township) hosted a meeting today at the Greater Nanticoke Area High School to discuss the devastating impact a potential closure of SCI-Retreat could have on the Greater Nanticoke Area School District.
The meeting was attended by Dr. Ronald Grevera, Superintendent of the Greater Nanticoke Area School District, the Greater Nanticoke Area School District School Board members, and five members of the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association (“PSCOA”) who work at Retreat whose children attend school in the Greater Nanticoke School District.
“Governor Wolf wants to invest in schools, not prisons, but that is a false choice,” said Senator Yudichak. “Closing SCI-Retreat will jeopardize $1.6 million in funding for the Nanticoke School District and threatens important educational programs like Pre-K instruction.”
“A closure of SCI-Retreat means we could lose 90 families and over 200 students. We cannot absorb such a staggering exodus of families and students as well as the second-largest employer within the district,” said Superintendent Grevera. “It is simple math. If the prison closes, secure funding for our schools will be undermined.”
Senator Yudichak stressed that the prison facility is integral to the entire community both as an employer and as an important part of the criminal justice system. “The 139 heroin overdoses in Luzerne County demonstrates that drug abuse remains a problem in the county and crime remains an issue in our community,” he said.
“No one knows when the dominoes will stop falling if the governor closes prisons prematurely,” said Representative Mullery. “I have yet to hear a compelling reason why this decision needs to be made on January 26th let alone a compelling reason to target three prisons in northeastern Pennsylvania.”
Governor Wolf’s administration and the Department of Corrections have stated that they will announce which two prisons will be closed before the end of the month and will be decommissioned by June 30, 2017.
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