CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ)– The very first Neuro-Cognitive CARE Unit in the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections is coming to Centre County. SCI Rockview will launch the specialized unit, focusing on serving incarcerated individuals diagnosed with dementia and other memory loss diseases.

The Department of Corrections said Pennsylvania’s prison population has decreased over recent years, but the population over 50 years old has grown.

“This population needs a specialized level of care that cannot necessarily be provided outside of a unit like this, or at least not as well as it can be provided here,” said Bobbi Jo Salamon, superintendent for SCI Rockview.

The unit will provide specialized medical, functional, and social treatment for 12 prisoners across Pennsylvania’s State Correctional Institutions.

Out of the possible 23 institutions, Superintendent Salamon said Rockview was chosen for its central location and available space. SCI Rockview has about 1,400 inmates and there are over 50,000 across the Commonwealth.

“Only a very, very small number of inmates at this facility would meet the criteria, but this unit is meant to serve the entire Department of Corrections, so we will be receiving inmates from across the state,” said Superintendent Salamon.

With just 12 openings, facilities will make referrals to the Bureau of Healthcare Services which will review and prioritize the inmates based on their needs.

Care will be provided by a medical director, registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), certified nursing assistants (CNAs), corrections officers, social workers, psychology staff and therapeutic activities specialists.

The superintendent said, the unit can help both staff and inmates.

“It does make it more manageable and it allows the resources at other facilities to be used more appropriately,” said Salamon.

Salamon adds, they’re proud to do something new for their community.

“Being the first in the state, we get to be innovative,” said Salamon. “We kind of get to write our own story here.”

With work on the NCCU project nearing completion, the unit plans to accept patients that need treatment in two to three weeks.

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