HARRISBURG – Recognizing the need to ensure state prisons are sufficiently staffed and fully secured, Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford) has introduced legislation that would allow non-residents of the Commonwealth to serve as corrections officers at the facilities. During a recent visit to the State Correctional Institution (SCI) Dallas, Owlett learned the Department of Corrections is currently prohibited under law from hiring corrections officers who reside in other states. This is despite the fact several of the facilities are located in close proximity to other states, including SCI Somerset, SCI Chester, SCI Waymart and SCI Phoenix.  In addition to the safety issue created by short-staffing, Owlett noted mandatory overtime creates stress for the corrections officers both at work and at home. Finally, overtime costs are substantial in the state’s corrections system, which could result in a request of more than $100 million in supplemental funding for the state’s current budget to meet costs.
House Bill 1968 is pending referral to a committee for consideration.