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Pa. inmates moved to new facility without incident

June 02, 2007|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -With no fanfare, but plenty of security, about 360 inmates were moved Wednesday night and Thursday morning from the Franklin County Prison on Franklin Farm Lane to the new Franklin County Jail at the Cumberland Valley Business Park.

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections provided a bus, two drivers and its head of security to move the prisoners to their new address on Opportunity Avenue, Warden John Wetzel said. Pennsylvania State Police provided escorts for the bus, and a tactical team from Dauphin County Prison assisted in the move, he said.

"It was pretty uneventful," County Administrator John Hart said of the move, which was exactly what county officials wanted. "The staff did a good job. Warden Wetzel drilled them time and time again."

Wetzel said the first busload of inmates left the old jail on Wednesday about 11:40 p.m., and the last busload arrived on Thursday about 9 a.m. A group of special-needs prisoners, those with mental or medical conditions or in protective custody, were moved with county vehicles after that, the last group arriving on Thursday shortly before noon, he said.

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"The inmates, their heads were on swivels" getting a look at their new surroundings, Hart said.

Dedicated on May 1, the 470-bed jail cost approximately $28 million, although the final price tag has not been tabulated, Hart said. The county paid for the building as part of a $39 million bond issue two years ago that set aside up to $30 million for the project.

The jail has different housing units for different classifications of inmates, including work release, medium and maximum security blocks, a disciplinary block and a female inmate block.

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