Snyder issues statement following state prison security news conference

Changes announced a week after her visits to SCI-Greene, SCI-Fayette

CARMICHAELS, Sept. 5 – As an elected official who’s led the charge, state Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, issued the following statement regarding prison security changes announced today by Gov. Tom Wolf and Corrections Secretary John Wetzel:

“As the local legislator who has long been on the front lines of this issue, I’m glad to see Governor Wolf and Secretary Wetzel announce steps today to help ensure the safety of people working inside our state prison walls.

“These are some of the steps I hoped would be taken earlier this year, when I introduced legislation to better protect our corrections officers – and called for a complete review of the prison system in Pennsylvania, with an emphasis on strengthening employee safety and security.

“When I was visiting inside SCI-Greene and SCI-Fayette last week conducting my own firsthand assessment, corrections officers repeatedly told me they are concerned for their own safety. I sincerely hope today’s actions by the DOC will help prevent future incidents like we’ve seen over the past few weeks, when prison workers were sickened and even hospitalized by some mysterious unknown substance.

“However, I still maintain that a top-to-bottom review of our state prison system must be conducted in order to ensure the safety of corrections officers and other staff working inside these facilities.”

Snyder, who was touring SCI-Fayette on her own fact-finding mission last week when the governor announced an immediate lockdown of all 25 state prisons, was unable to attend today’s news conference at SCI-Greene because it conflicted with her previously scheduled attendance at a House Labor and Industry Committee meeting in Harrisburg.

“From my many conversations with those who work there, I am fully aware of employee concerns in the two state prisons in our area,” Snyder said.