Prison board: Booking system needs to improve|
Friday, July 11, 2014
By Jeff Corcino Staff Writer
The Clearfield County Prison Board discussed ways to improve the booking process at the jail, at its meeting yesterday.
Clearfield County District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. said the new central booking system that was installed at the Clearfield County Jail and the Sandy Township Police Department last year are up and running at 100 percent.
But, he said there are some defendants who are still slipping through the cracks. He said the booking station at the jail is a self-service system where the arresting officer books, fingerprints and enters the defendant into the system.
He said this works well, except for private criminal complaints like bad checks. In private criminal complaints there is no arresting officer and these defendants are likewise not being fingerprinted, Shaw said.
He said this causes problems in Harrisburg because these charges are not getting in the state's database so when a defendant is arrested in another county, the private criminal complaints lodged against them in Clearfield County are not showing up on the computers of other counties and this can impact a defendant's bail and sentencing, Shaw said.
"We have to have 100 percent compliance," Shaw said.
However, Shaw said this isn't a problem in Sandy Township because the Sandy Township Police Department has an officer man the booking station on Fridays when preliminary hearings are held at Magisterial District Judge Patrick Ford's courtroom.
Once a defendant has their preliminary hearing in DuBois, they are ordered to go to the police station and be fingerprinted.
Shaw said he spoke with Warden Gregory Collins on this issue and recommended something similar be done at the Clearfield County Jail where a corrections officer would man the booking station on Wednesdays until 4 p.m.
This way following the preliminary hearing the presiding judge can order defendants to be fingerprinted at the jail and there would be legal consequences if the defendant doesn't comply with the order, Shaw said.
When asked, Shaw said he doesn't believe an additional employee would have to be hired and said a current corrections officer could handle the duties.
Commissioner Joan Robinson McMillen thanked Shaw for bringing this to the board and said the commissioners would have to check with the county's human resources department to make sure there aren't any issues with the union contract in having a corrections officer perform booking duties.
In other business:
l Collins reported the jail started the month of June with 157 inmates, committed an additional 103, released 112 and ended the month with 148 and said currently the county has no inmates housed in Centre County.
The CCJ has a capacity of 152 inmates and the county houses inmates in the Centre County Jail whenever its inmate population exceeds the capacity at the jail.
In the Intermediate Punishment Program, there were 14 inmates in home detention and 15 in supervised bail and there was a total of 727 incarceration days saved.
In the work release program, the program started June with six participants and five more were added giving a total of 11 participants.
l Collins reported that if 20 beds were added to the jail it would cost approximately $10,000 and would require the hiring of four additional full-time corrections officers. However, Collins said there could be additional requirements with the Department of Labor and Industry that he would have to research before the bunks could be added.
McMillen asked Collins if he could issue a report next fall before the county prepares its budget.
The county is looking into converting some of its single-occupancy cells into double occupancy cells to cut down on out-of county placements.
l The board approved the following personnel changes: resignation of part-time corrections officer Justine Addleman, the start date for deputy warden Stephen Smith on June 23, the probation completions by C.O. William Yanasky and C.O. Chelsea Moore and the transfer of C.O. Brian Showalter to full time on July 6.
Collins also announced the resignation of teacher Susan Stiner. According to Collins, Stiner was hired in as a full-time teacher at the jail by CIU No.10 in 1977 teaching incarcerated youth at the jail.
"She has served this community with distinction and will be greatly missed by the staff and inmates at the Clearfield County Jail," Collins said. "She really worked hard for the inmates."
The board held an executive session to discuss personnel issues.
Attending the meeting was Sheriff Wes Thurston, Commissioner John Sobel, county Controller Tony Scotto, Shaw, McMillen and Collins.