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Medical Expenses Increase, But Clarion County Jail Population Low

Friday, September 13, 2019 @ 12:09 AM

Posted by Ron Wilshire

Clarion County Jail xSHIPPENVILLE, Pa. (EYT) – The Clarion County Prison Board of Inspectors on Thursday morning heard reports on a declining prison population and higher prison inmate medical costs at the Shippenville facility.

“During August, we had 44 total commitments and 46 total releases for an average daily the population of 81.10,” said Warden Jeff Hornberger. “As of September 9, we had a total of 82 inmates, including 11 females, 58 males, and three out on temporary leave.”

While the number of inmates at Clarion holds at a low level, neighboring counties are seeing increases.

“Our numbers continue to be the lowest I’ve seen and a look at the surrounding counties -everybody is up in the 150’s,” Hornberger continued. “We’re doing something right, the whole county from probation on up is doing things right.”

The number of prisoners is low, but medical expenses are challenging.

“One thing that always is a shot in the dark is our prisoner medical expenses,” said Hornberger. “We budgeted $205,000.00 this year. Wardens from other counties tell me they have used their entire medical budget by April. But fortunately, we’ve never had that happen. We’ll make it work one way or another and move money around.

“We have had a lot of medical expenditures within the last three weeks. A lot of people in the hospital and one had to be life-flighted, so it’s going to go up. We’re having a lot more medical issues.”

The HVAC roof-top units were discussed. Two have been installed, and another is coming.

Commissioner Ed Heasley made a motion to replace the kitchen HVAC unit before the “snow flies.” Funding will come out of the prison revenue account.

The prison has a total of 13 units, and Hornberger said the one above the kitchen is the largest and probably the most expensive.

Warden’s report

“We are at 59 percent of our budget which is not too bad. We’ll be alright by the end of the year.

“Under support services counselor Michelle met with 187 inmates. Six inmates were placed on suicide watch. We did have an inmate this past month try to commit suicide and it was severe, but it is okay now and he is instead still on social suicide watch in the jail. We’re watching him very closely. Eighteen inmates were seen by our psychiatrist.

“A total of 47 inmates were seen by the prison nurse, 50 inmates were seen by Seneca Medical, three inmates went for hospital tests, two inmates went to doctors outside of Clarion County, five inmates were seen in the ER, and one inmate went to the dentist.

Security review stated there were 19 misconduct reviews and three grievance reviews.

Hornberger said, “Most of our grievances are mainly about medical and requests to see the counselor.”

An executive session for personnel matters was held at the end of the meeting, and no action was taken.  The next meeting will be held on October 10 at the Main Street administrative building.

Board of Inspector members attending the meeting included Clarion County Commissioners Wayne Brosius, Ted Tharan, and Ed Heasley, Sheriff Rex Munsee, Treasurer Tom McConnell, and Warden Jeff Hornberger.

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