Prison Board Holds Reorganizational Meeting, Reviews 2019 Budget Numbers

CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield County Prison Board held a brief reorganization meeting Tuesday, retaining all officers, including President Judge Fredric Ammerman as chairman, Commissioner John A. Sobel as vice chairman and Controller Tom Adamson as secretary.

The only committee is the personnel committee, and it is made up of Ammerman, Sobel and Sheriff Michael Churner.

Meetings will continue to be held the third Tuesday of each month at 12 p.m. Most meetings will be held at the county administrative offices on Locust Street with one meeting per quarter held at the Clearfield County Jail: March, June, September and December.

The board also welcomed two new members, Commissioner David Glass and District Attorney Ryan Sayers.

During the regular meeting, the board reviewed the budget numbers from 2019 and learned that the biggest unexpected increase in revenues had come from the work release program, which, near the end of the year, saw more participants than usual.

The budget for the jail was $262,624 over budget and Adamson noted that the biggest discrepancy is always contracted services. The budgeted numbers for the new doctor were $40,000 and the actual cost came in at $59,000 and medical expenses were budgeted at $280,000 and came in at $308,000.

The board also received good news in regards to jail population. Clearfield County Jail has been suffering from severe overpopulation, but the last couple of months have again seen a slight drop. December began with 156 inmates with 113 released and 123 incarcerated.

As of the meeting time Tuesday, the population in Clearfield was 145 with eight additional in Jefferson County and four others in other facilities.

For work release, the month began with seven inmates, five were paroled and one was removed and one was added, ending December with two participants.

The board also discussed some new hires, including a new deputy warden and a new registered nurse. Warden Gregory Collins said they are both doing well, as they learn their new jobs and get used to working at the jail. A new licensed practical nurse was also hired and will start in February.

A discussion was held regarding whether or not the new deputy warden will switch to second shift once Collins is confident with his training. There were mixed reasons about why the position would be moved to second shift and some confusion as a result.

Commissioner Tony Scotto explained that there had been an issue a few years ago with an inmate and how the corrections officers handled it.

At that time, there had been a lieutenant on duty, but the person either could not or did not provide clear direction to the COs, and there were other issues that resulted in severe consequences.

At that point, the board realized that the discussion was moving towards legal and personnel issues that could not be discussed in public, and it was decided that an executive session would be held with no action so that the matter could be fully discussed and the new board members brought up to date.

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