The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

August 21, 2013

Women inmates finding trouble at Northumberland County Prison

By Francis Scarcella
The Daily Item

SUNBURY — The women are out of control.

At least that’s the report coming out of the Northumberland County Prison.

Of 26 female inmates in general population at the prison, 22 are restricted from having privileges, warden Roy Johnson said.

At least two are restricted because of violent incidents and the other 20 are in lockup for misconduct.

It’s “girls gone wild” at the 139-year-old prison.

Johnson confirmed that there is a problem with female inmates’ behavior.

“For some reason, this is happening,” he said. “It isn’t out of the ordinary, but for some reason as of late, there has been some trouble down there.”

“Down there” is the basement of the prison, where the women are housed.

Of the 44 female inmates housed in the jail, 18 are kept upstairs because they have work-release privileges.

There are two types of restricted punishment, Johnson said.

Under the first type, inmates are only allowed out of their cells one hour a day, five days a week, without handcuffs, the warden said.

The second, for violent offenders, is the same as the first, except the inmates are required to wear handcuffs and shackles.

The two female inmates are in violent restriction because of an altercation, Johnson said. The rest, well, let’s just say being locked up with other women may not be for everyone.

“They want to keep trying to communicate to the male prisoners,” Johnson said. “They keep yelling across to them, and after being told to stop, they just don’t listen.”

For other women, kicking the smoking habit is more difficult while incarcerated.

“They get tobacco in and they got caught with it,” Johnson said. “They get in petty, small things and it results in the misconducts.”

There are approximately 180 male inmates. Johnson said 10 to 12 are in violent restriction and 15 to 20 are in restriction.

“I review these every month,” Johnson said. “The number of misconducts for the females will go down, but again I look at these on a case-by-case basis.”

According to officials at the state prison at Muncy, an all-female prison, there are 1,412 inmates, and only 48  are in restrictive housing.

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