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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Andy's Angles: Prison

Luzerne County, good luck handling this one.

Above is the Luzerne County jail, along Water Street in Wilkes-Barre.  An inmate and a guard died in what's described as a freak accident Monday evening.  They hit an elevator door during a fight.  It opened.  They plunged five floors to their deaths, and the same thing nearly happened to a second corrections officer.

It's triggered a new round of debate over building a new jail.  The one you see above, even though it has a relatively new tower, is more than 100 years old.  Yes, there have been renovations.  When you total up all the recent problems, it appears to be a series of Band Aids on a festering wound.

Off the record, corrections officers have said, in published reports, that the jail features unsafe and inefficient designs.  The new county manager wants to build a new one.

Here comes the tough part.  How do you pay for it?

A full report on the deadly fall still isn't in.  It could be staffing issues and just bad luck played a bigger role than design.

But, if fingers are pointed toward a severely flawed and badly outdated building, how can you not pony up the money to pay for a new building?