Pennsylvania using new inmate placement program

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections is using a new program to best match inmates to the right prisons.

The program uses data and information about inmates and prisons and determines where an inmate will serve their time.

The program was created by the Corrections Department and Lehigh University. It has been used for six months and the DOC says it has saved taxpayers $2.9 million. They say it also has lowered the number of assaults in prisons.

“We were having some serious assaults in one of our facilities and through further digging in, we found that it was because we were sending a disproportionate number of young inmates there. Young inmates are at higher risk, they’re more violent, they’re more prone to violence,” said Bret Bucklen, DOC’s director of research and statistics.

Bucklen says it was that situation that caused them to look into a better placement process.

“We look at where there are other inmates we need to separate them from, maybe gang members, maybe people they’ve testified against that we need to keep them separate from because it could cause disruptions,” he said.

The program is the first of it’s kind and recently won a national award.

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