Bill to combine prisons, parole agencies gets criticism

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Members of the Pennsylvania House are criticizing a bill supported by Gov. Tom Wolf to consolidate the Department of Corrections and the Board of Probation and Parole.

House Judiciary Committee members questioned Corrections Secretary John Wetzel and parole board Chairman Michael Green on Monday during a hearing on the bill.

It passed the Senate last month and is touted as a way to save millions of dollars to hire more parole officers and help parolees succeed outside of prison.

But Rep. Michael Regan says mixing corrections authority with law enforcement powers is a conflict of interest. He and other House members suggested the agencies save the money, but stay separate.

Parole agent caseloads are rising since the state made it harder to send parolees back to prison for violations.

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