U.S. Senate panel probes federal prisons ‘riddled with mismanagement’

BY: - September 30, 2022

Staff shortages have impacted the federal Bureau of Prisons' operations, former Pa. Corrections Secretary John E. Wetzel, told lawmakers.

Pa.’s long-serving prisons chief, John E. Wetzel, is leaving, Wolf admin says

BY: - September 13, 2021

Wetzel, whose work to reform the state's sprawling and expensive prison system, won him plaudits, told the Capital-Star that he plans to open a criminal justice nonprofit in February.

COVID surge in Pa. prisons leads to calls for lockdown at all facilities

BY: - December 16, 2020

In a statement released Tuesday, the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association (PSCOA) called on Gov. Tom Wolf and his administration to lockdown the state’s prisons and stop the transfer of inmates amid the surge in COVID cases. 

Philly DA, chief defender praise state prison release program, urge Wolf to go further

BY: - April 14, 2020

Prisoners qualifying for a Wolf administration executive order could start being released as soon as Tuesday, officials said.

COVID-19 in Pa.: State prisons report first fatality, testing reaches 1 percent of population

BY: - April 13, 2020

The inmate was a 67 year-old African-American man serving a life sentence at SCI-Phoenix in Montgomery County. He died Saturday, officials said.

Wolf issues executive order to thin state prison populations amid COVID-19 outbreak

BY: - April 10, 2020

The announcement comes after legislation to reduce prison populations stalled in the state House and Senate, where lawmakers could not agree on conditions for release or which inmates deserved eligibility.

Pennsylvania moves to close Luzerne County state prison, as state lawmakers voice opposition

BY: - August 29, 2019

SCI Retreat currently holds 1,100 incarcerated people and employs 400 corrections officers and prison staff, according to the department. 

Most of Pa.’s sick and elderly inmates die in prison. Medical parole could change that

BY: - March 8, 2019

Pennsylvania’s prison population grows older by the day, but only a handful of people are released from state corrections facilities each year due to failing health. That’s according to state Corrections Secretary John Wetzel, who told senators last week that Pennsylvania’s program to release elderly inmates from prison is underused and ineffective. Now, state lawmakers […]

An aging prison population is straining Pa.’s Corrections budget. Could medical parole be the answer?

BY: - February 28, 2019

Pennsylvania’s prison population may be shrinking, but its costs aren’t. One reason, according to Corrections Secretary John Wetzel, is a growing number of elderly inmates. In a hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday, Wetzel said the state’s aging prison population “100 percent has to do” with his department’s rising medical costs. He said Pennsylvania […]