Prison Board eyes work

The Warren County Prison Board met Tuesday morning to discuss work at the jail, finances, an upcoming inspection and the annual meeting of the Pennsylvania Sheriffs’ Association which will be held in Warren for the first time.

County Fiscal Director Paul Pascuzzi reported the monthly invoices from the jail totaled $22,500, with $13,000 of that amount for utilities and the remainder routine expenses.

Warden and Sheriff Ken Klakamp said 18 Forest County inmates were housed last month for a total of 270 billable days. The overall population is down to 125, he said, with 23 being parole violators.

“We have been running active patrols on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays while the workers at United (Refining) are in town. Last weekend we had two DUIs, and have been busy assisting Youngsville and Conewango (police departments),” he said.

Klakamp noted that the extra patrols would end once the refinery’s shutdown is over and the contract workers leave. He was unsure of the total number of visiting workers, although he said that Betts Park, where many of the workers park during the day was full of cars.

Deputy Warden Greg Deivert said that since the population was down, they currently had C-Block empty so inmates could clean and re-paint. “We’re sprucing things up,” he said, preparing for an annual state Department of Corrections inspection on July 25.

He also said they are now replacing old acrylic mirrors in the cells with stainless steel.

“During the month of February Warren County Prison Inmate Work Crews performed 569 hours of community service work for the citizens of Warren County,” Deivert said. “Projects were completed for the Warren County School District, the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, Warren County Probation, Warren County Prison, Warren County Commissioners, House of Hope, Department of Human Services, Tionesta Valley Snowmobile Club, Cherry Grove Volunteer Fire Department, Lander Volunteer Fire Department and Paws along the River.”

He said non-profit organizations or governmental agencies may use inmate work crews for community projects by contacting him at 723-2486.

Warren County Commissioner John Eggleston said he had received three bids for air-conditioning equipment for the jail’s kitchen, and would review them later.

Warren County Commissioner and Board Chairman John Bortz said he had looked at the kitchen area, and identified equipment that needs to be replaced. He said they had been “nursing a three-door refrigerator for a long time,” and of the two steam cookers, one was too small. Also, a walk-in cooler needs to be replaced.

“I’m in favor of getting some hard and fast quotes,” he said, adding that there could be some after-market value to the items replaced, especially for the steam-cooker as there is nothing wrong with it besides its size.

Eggleston asked, “Would there be any merit in a re-design of the kitchen by an expert?”

He said there is no room to move in the kitchen, and the current location of equipment and racks are inefficient.

Rob Greene, Warren County district attorney, asked if whoever would be providing the new equipment could do a re-design, thereby saving the county money.

Klakamp asked for approval for a cooperative program with Mercyhurst College, where the school could do physical fitness and agility tests for new corrections officers. He said that the applicants would be required to pay for the tests, thereby not costing the county any money.