County Dedicates, Opens Jail’s Dorm-Like Expansion

A wide-angle view of the expansion (at right) and the remainder of the correctional facility

EAGLEVILLE PA – Montgomery County, state and local officials, as well as area police chiefs, were on hand Monday (Sept. 19, 2011) to dedicate a major expansion at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility. The dormitory-style expansion will accommodate 512 prisoners on work release or serving sentences for DUI and other non-violent offenses.

“This is both a good day and a bad day,” county President Judge Richard J. Hodgson said during the ceremony. “It’s good that the addition to the prison got constructed. It’s sad that we’ve gotten to the point in our society that we needed one.”

The facility was originally built to house 1,240 inmates and later expanded to accommodate 1,500. The prison population, however, has exceeded 1,700 prisoners in recent years. The addition will alleviate significant overcrowding, county officials said.

The expansion represents “the latest in a long line of public safety investments (the) county has undertaken,” according to Commissioners’ Chairman James R. Matthews. They include expanding the Public Safety Operations Center, building a new Tactical Response Training Center, deploying a wireless silent-alarm system in schools across the county, and building a new high-rise addition to the Structural Fire Building to train firefighters.

The prison expansion cost $23.5 million and took about a year to complete. The county raised work-release and other fees charged to inmates to defray the building’s debt service; they are expected to generate about $300,000 annually, according to commissioners.

Cutting a ribbon to dedicate the new addition to the correctional facility are, from left, Chief County Detective Oscar Vance, President Judge Richard J. Hodgson, Prison Board Chair Nancy McFarland, Commissioner Bruce L. Castor, Jr., Warden Julio Algarin, Prison Board Vice Chair Don Gracia, Commissioners Chairman James R. Matthews, Commissioner Joseph M. Hoeffel, Prison Board members Edmund Justice and Dr. Edwin Camile.

Photos from the Montgomery County Communications Office