Prison Board talks renovations, new uniforms, upgraded radios


McELHATTAN — The Clinton County Prison Board handed a grab-bag of issues Wednesday morning, as Warden John Rowley and deputies Susan Watt and Angela Hoover updated the members on a number of activities.

Warden Rowley said a number or those issues focus on the upcoming prison renovations to be conducted this summer but also mentioned continuing efforts to update policies and procedures, and said the new command structure was nearing final approval.

The other factors ranged from new uniforms for the corrections officers to the pending activation of radios to upgrade of the security of the staff and detainees, at a cost of approximately $45,000.

The new uniform, consisting of polo shirts and pants, will be chosen by staff members, who have been wearing samples to determine the durability and ease of cleaning. The cleaning will be the employees’ responsibility.

Other issues include planning for training for the drug analyzer.

Warden Rowley took the time to introduce the new compliance and development coordinator Jason Kormanic, and he lauded the efforts of two maintenance men, Nevin Harpster and Andy Bodle, who used their in-house techniques to repair and refurbish a deteriorating shower area in one of the prison blocks.

The warden also said he planned to “flip flop” some of the renovations in order to preserve an agreement with Centre County to house some Clinton County inmates while the work is being done.

He also suggested some changes that will make the outside “yard” schedule less cumbersome.

Rowley said the new organizational chart nearing final approval should meet all the operational needs of the correctional facility. He also noted that the final personnel costs should be about $15,000 less than what existed when he came on board in 2015.

Hoover said the intake area and central booking were the next project for updating of policies and procedures. The deputies are also examining options for mental health services in the prison, and are looking at two options, including a comprehensive approach by the contractor, or a screening and referral system using a local vendor.

Commissioner Jeff Snyder asked solicitor Rocco Rosamilia to examine ways of reducing the costs of training new corrections officers, especially in cases where the officers leave for more lucrative horizons before completing even a year’s time at the local facility.

Commissioner Paul Conklin recommended regular meetings with medical and other contracted personnel to decrease the possibility of lawsuits, and noted that the prison and its board are ultimately liable for any mistakes that might occur.