Revolving Doors Becoming the Norm at Prison in Tunkhannock

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Not only has maintaining a full staff at the Wyoming County Correctional Facility become an ongoing challenge for administrators, constant overpopulation is taking its toll on the staff members that remain.

Photo and story by Rick Hiduk

(Also published in the Rocket-Courier)

Population in the Wyoming County Correctional system rose by three inmates in August with 50 new commitments and 47 prisoners released. Eleven men and three women are housed at other facilities, which is down slightly, but still high. The cost for outsourcing to date, as offered by Warden Ken Repsher at Tuesday morning’s meeting of the prison board is $98,791, not counting rarely recovered costs for medical care.

The ongoing overpopulation situation is putting a strain on a crew that remains six corrections officers short despite constant hiring and promotions of new employees from part- to full-time.

It makes it even more difficult when population is up,” said Repsher. “There’s a lot of overtime and burnout of staff.”

Among those to leave most recently were CO Daniel Bornkamp, who resigned, and Cpl. James Wilbur, who retired after 20 years at the facility. Prison Board member Atty. Tim Richards made a motion to recognize Wilbur for his commitment and service to the county, which was approved unanimously.

He was a great officer,” Repsher remarked. “We’re going to miss him.”

Repsher asked the board to approve the hiring of Reymy Novas and Michael Wilbanks as casual officers and welcomed aboard newly hired COs Luke Cruver and Michael Skumanick. In addition to needing six more COs, there is also an opening at the prison for a training lieutenant.

Other changes at the facility reported on Oct. 30 include the replacement of a stove in the kitchen. Repsher is also looking into having several exterior doors custom built for the jail.

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Managing Editor of EndlessMtnLifestyles.com, dedicated to providing interesting information about life in the Endless Mountains region of northern Pennsylvania. The website - a meager investment with no immediate return - is meant to be community-based and to reflect the varied tastes of its readers. Submissions from legitimate organizations and event coordinators are welcome and will be published as space and time allow. This website is operated by Endless Mountains Media Services. I am seeking submissions of news stories, promotional press releases, and photos for posting with full recognition for the submitter. I am also hoping to build a base of correspondents who would enjoy being my "ears and eyes" in parts of the four county region where news is happening. I am also a self-employed media consultant and freelance writer/editor, providing professional services for businesses, municipalities, and organizations for which retaining a full time staff writer is not a viable option.

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