Prison Visitation to Continue in Wyoming County

Story and photo by Rick Hiduk

(exclusive to readers)

When visitation to the Wyoming County Correctional Facility in Tunkhannock was resumed for the holidays, it was an experiment. And it went well enough for prison officials to allow visitation to continue with Covid restrictions in place. This was confirmed on Tuesday morning during the regular public meeting of the Wyoming County Commissioners.

For a second month in a row, there was not a quorum for an official Prison Board Meeting due to four or more members being unavailable due to other duties. On Jan. 18, a simultaneous court trial prevented the judge and district attorney from participating. Warden Ken Repsher, who is not a prison board member, has been delivering his monthly report virtually.

The commissioners were aware that there had been some phone issues with inmates contacting their families during the holidays and some challenges with the logistics of resuming visitation after such a long break. “Everything has leveled out from our prior issues,” Repsher told the commissioners, who commended him and his staff for doing everything they could to keep things moving along.

Commissioner Rick Wilbur asked why there have consistently been four female prisoners boarded out to other facilities. Repsher replied that there isn’t enough space at the jail to segregate new inmates and those with whom there have been disciplinary issues. There are female prisoners currently kept in areas not intended for housing. Maintaining four inmates outside the jail allows for some flexibility.

The current inmate count in the county system is 38 males and 10 females with 28 inmates recently released and 25 taken in. Boarding fees in 2021 for prisoners sent to correctional facilities in Lackawanna, Susquehanna, and Wayne counties totaled $82,333, which was within the budget.

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