Merger of prisons, parole agencies hits opposition in House

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Gov. Tom Wolf’s bid to merge the Department of Corrections and the Board of Probation and Parole is hitting another wall of resistance.

House members, prosecutors and even two parole board members criticized the bill during a Judiciary Committee meeting Thursday, saying it sets a bad precedent by removing an independent check on who gets out of prison.

Wolf’s administration touts the merger as a way to save millions of dollars and help parolees succeed outside of prison. It’s the second time in a year-and-a-half that the committee has been heavily critical of the idea, even though it has passed the Senate twice.

Pennsylvania’s inmate ranks are shrinking and the parolee population is growing as parole violators spend less time in prison and more on the streets.

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