CLEARFIELD COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — One week from today, the Moshannon Valley Correctional Center will close operations, leaving almost 300 people to find a new job and surrounding local businesses without a flow of customers from inmate visitation.
The closure follows an executive order from the president of the United States, ending private jails as a means of incarcerating federal prisoners.
Clearfield County Commissioners say the decision was made too quickly. They say they attempted to negotiate a renewal or extension of the contract, but due to the federal level ruling, they say it was not possible.
“We wish that they would have done more research on the matter, to see the impact in our community,” said Antonio Scotto, Clearfield County Commissioner. “I don’t see any of the discrimination or anything of that nature that they’re claiming, I actually think it’s a good facility.”
Commissioner Scotto says the placement of the Moshannon Valley Correctional Center was convenient for inmates and their loved ones.
“They’re usually from New York, a lot of them have family in New York City, and they found it very convenient to come here and visit,” said Commissioner Scotto.
Visits to Philipsburg meant use of local hotels, restaurants, and gas stations. That opportunity will no longer be available.
“There’s going to be a spillover effect that’s going to ripple through both Clearfield and Centre Counties, unfortunately, and that’s going to have a serious economic impact,” said John Sobel, Clearfield County Commissioner.
They say the North Central Workforce Development Board is working with the facility’s about 275 employees as they transition.
“They are offering additional training if they wish to train for some different type of employment,” said Commissioner Sobel. “They’re also offering counseling services to help folks find other jobs.”
Commissioner Sobel says the building will be unoccupied following it’s closure on March 31, but adds the Moshannon Valley Economic Development Partnership is looking for another federal government organization to take its place.