New warden at Blair County Prison

Hollidaysburg, Blair County, Pa. - Last November WTAJ reported complaints from inmates and correctional officers about issues within the prison including unsafe conditions, over crowding and overworking employees.

Bobbi Jo Salamon from the Department of Corrections says that it's the change in wardens that has sparked the DOC's assessment of the prison. Dr. Robert Marsh has replaced the retiring Michael Johnston.  

Salamon said, "the Blair County Jail is in a bit of transition due to the retirement so I think they took this has a good opportunity to take a look at the facility and help determine looking for a new warden going forward."

Retiring Warden Michael Johnston has been there for nearly 10 years with 34 years working in corrections in Blair County. He says there have been preliminary findings so far in the assessment, but doesn't expect any major issues.

Johnston explained, "Nothing's totally outrageous. But everybody when you walk into a different jail we're used to seeing what we see daily in our jail and when you get to go to a different jail you see things that are different that out might not agree with and i just think really that's what it is."

Dr. Robert Marsh moves in as acting warden after working 19 years for the DOC as the Director of Psychology. He says the staff at the prison appear to be willing to look inward.

Marsh explained, "I think it's a good situation where everyone is at the point that we've got buy in to looking at how they are doing things and that there are always areas where we can improve."

The DOC says that Marsh will act as warden indefinitely and they expect that the assessment will conclude at the end of the calendar year.

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