Clearfield County Commissioners tabled two motions regarding the reopening of the privately-owned prison in Decatur Township at its meeting yesterday.
There were two motions regarding the former prison on the commissioner’s meeting agenda.
The first motion stated, “Agreement with ICE for Clearfield County to operate a federal immigration detention center.” ICE is the acronym for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The second motion stated, “Global agreement with GEO to reopen the former Decatur Township private prison facility and operate the same as a federal immigration center for Clearfield County pursuant to their agreement with ICE.”
However, when it was time to take action on the motions, Commissioner John Sobel, chairman, asked that the two motions be tabled and commissioners would revisit the action items at their next meeting, which is on Sept. 28.
Commissioner Tony Scotto made the motion to table, and Commissioner Dave Glass seconded it — and the motion passed unanimously.
Following the meeting, The Progress asked the commissioners why the motions were tabled. Glass said the commissioners were told last week by one of the parties involved that there would be items ready for action at yesterday’s meeting, and those items were requested to be placed on the agenda. However, one of the parties involved informed the commissioners Monday after 10 a.m. that they would not be ready.
State law requires the commissioners to publish their agenda 24 hours in advance, therefore it was already too late to have them removed from the agenda, Glass said.
“We were ready,” Glass added.
The Progress asked if the prison is operating now, and Glass said it was not.
Based on the wording of the motions, The Progress asked if the county was going to be the official operator of the prison, and the GEO Group would be running the prison on behalf of the county. The commissioners stated they could not comment on the issue yet, and more information would be forthcoming at the next meeting.
On Aug. 6, The Progress received a brief email stating, “The GEO Group will be opening Moshannon Valley Correctional Facility contracted as an ICE Facility.”
The email also included a contact person, Charis Proud of the GEO Group, and included the prison’s phone number and Proud’s email address.
The Progress attempted to contact Proud several times since receiving the statement by phone and email, but none have been successful. Proud has not returned any requests for comment.
The facility closed on March 31 after the Federal Bureau of Prisons decided against renewing its contract with the 1,878-bed facility.
More than 250 people were employed at the facility prior to the closure.