The State' Department of Corrections officially announced on Wednesday morning that the state will close two older prisons in a cost cutting move. One of them is SCI Cresson just off of State Route 22 in Cresson Township, Cambria County. The Department is also closing SCI Greensburg in Westmoreland County.
With a projected savings of $23 million dollars in the coming fiscal year, the State appears to making a strong case for closing the two Western Pennsylvania prisons. Still the people who have come to depend on Cresson Township's largest employer say this shut-down will be hard to take.
With an inmate population of about 1500 and a work force of more than 500, SCI Cresson supports plenty of local economic activity in the Cresson area. The pending closing of the prison is seen as one more blow to the region.
The biggest concern for many in the community is what will happen to friends and neighbors who been employed at SCI Cresson which opened up back in 1987. For nearly thirty years it has been an important part of the region's economy.
The State Department of Corrections says most of the affected employees will be able to transfer to new jobs even if significant travel is required. Still for communities including the Cresson area that will be losing hundreds of jobs concern about the economic fallout continue to build.