For the first time in history, Pennsylvania will start contracting with other states next year to take state prison inmates.
The state will send as many as 2,000 out to one or more of six states being considered. They are Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Oklahoma and Virginia. The Corrections department says all will be men with no mental health or behavioral issues or serious medical conditions that require special attention. The state will also consider inmates relationships with their families, and the ones who have received the fewest visits could be high on the list for transfers. They are necessary because the inmate population is growing faster than the state can build prisons. Two new ones, one medium security and one maximum security, are under construction now on the grounds of Graterford State Prison, and two others are being built in Centre and Fayette Counties. Inmates are living in makeshift quarters at state prisons, and county prisons across the commonwealth are housing state inmates.