As SCI Graterford prepares to close its doors, the brand new State Correctional Institution Phoenix is awaiting inmates’ and staff’s arrival.
“With a clap of the wings, the nest that had served us faithfully will be no more. For Phoenix has risen and the staff and inmates who will soon occupy this astonishing facility are prepared to soar,” said Tammy Ferguson, Superintendent of State Correctional Institution Phoenix, referencing the Greek myth of the Phoenix.
The aptly named SCI Phoenix will serve as a state-of-the-art replacement for SCI Graterford, the 90-year-old maximum security prison that towers nearby. The new prison was officially dedicated on Friday with remarks from Regional Deputy Secretary Steve Glunt, Secretary of Corrections John Wetzel, State Sen. Bob Mensch and Secretary Department of General Services Curtis Topper, writes Marian Dennis in The Times Herald.
Wetzel said, officers will be equipped with GPS so that it is clear where they are at all times.
Living quarters in the new prison in each wing are also designed for safety purposes. The quarters are broken up into smaller sections and individual showers that are visible from the center of the wing have been built to make monitoring inmates easier. The set up of the living quarters is not only meant to make inmates and guards more secure, but also to improve the inmates’ quality of life by cutting down on factors such as noise, according to officials.
The new prison will also include vocational classes such as barber school, with a fully equipped barber shop facility, and other classes such as International Computer Driving License, carpentry, restaurant professions and ServSafe, warehouse operations and several others. It will also include a law and recreational library, gym and mural arts program.
“At the end of the day, that’s what it’s about,” concluded Executive Deputy Secretary Shirley Moore Smeal. “It’s about changing lives. It’s about making a difference in the lives of others and we’re confident that that’s what’s going to happen under this leadership that’s here today.”
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