McKeesport, January 11, 2013 – State Sen. Jim Brewster today sharply criticized the Corbett Administration for its backroom decision that led to this week’s announcement to close the state prison in Hempfield, Westmoreland County.

Brewster said he will work with fellow lawmakers to keep the prison open.

“For a governor who constantly boasts about being transparent, this secretive backroom decision reeks with hypocrisy,” Brewster said. “There was no public input, no notification to any local officials and no warning to any of the 400 prison workers.

“The department has provided little reasoning or justification for its decision and provided little opportunity for anyone to contest this abrupt move.”

Earlier this week, the state Corrections Department announced that it was closing the prison in Westmoreland County, along with one in Cambria County, and would relocate prisoners to a recently-constructed facility in Centre County.

“The plans to close this facility had to have been made months ago if not longer. Had the governor discussed the closing when the plans were first drafted, the employees would have had time to make informed decisions,” Brewster said. “The elected representatives would have had the time to come up with options. The stealth approach was unnecessary.

“This closing will uproot families, likely result in lay-offs and hamper our local economy,” Brewster said. “Before announcing its plan, the administration should have laid out all of the factors, provided details, clearly stated its reasoning, held public hearings and consulted with state and local government leaders.

“Instead, this was handled like a sneak attack using the same closed-door, secretive tactics that Gov. Corbett campaigned against,” Brewster said.

The McKeesport lawmaker said he would work with area lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, to delay and reverse the Corbett Administration’s decision.

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