57 Pa. inmates paying county to stay at home

Published 4:00 pm Friday, February 13, 2015

SUNBURY, Pa.  — Inmates in Pennsylvania are paying to stay at home after the prison they were housed in was destroyed by fire last month. 

With 208 prisoners displaced after a fire gutted the 139-year-old Northumberland County, Pennsylvania prison, 57 inmates are currently paying the county a fee to live at home under court-imposed house arrest instead of staying at a neighboring prison. 

A state police fire marshal ruled the cause of the Jan. 14 fire unknown, and county official are now considering 11 different locations for building a new prison. 

Those serving house arrest pay the county approximately $500 the first month and $450 every month thereafter, Jim Cortelyou, the county’s probation chief, said Thursday.

Cortelyou said inmates under house arrest are non-violent offenders and are monitored using an ankle bracelet tracking system. 

“A high percentage of the inmates incarcerated are due to some type of drugs or distribution or alcohol-related offenses, and with house arrest, we can add the possibility of some sort of AA meetings or private-sector solutions, and that would keep the rate of inmates down.” said county commissioner Steve Bridy. 

Details for this story were provided by The Sunbury, (Pa.) Daily Item.