If Lycoming County is going to implement a day reporting center for those serving on probation or supervised bail, now may be the time to let the county's judicial system know, according to Judge Nancy L. Butts.
Butts indicated at Friday's county prison board meeting that the courts would like to know what direction the county commissioners are going on the plan for such a facility, which could keep a number of low-risk offenders out of the prison by having them report at a facility that would include education, counseling and job skills services.
At least two sites have been considered for a potential day reporting center, including a vacant four-story building adjacent to the county prison at 301 W. Third St. and the former Mater Dolorosa Catholic Church at 634 Hepburn St.
"I think the commissioners need to give us the word that we are going to do this," Butts said.
Once approval may be given, Butts said the county can formulate requests for proposals for the management and operation of a day reporting center.
Commissioner Jeff C. Wheeland said that he and fellow commissioners will listen to suggestions brought forth by Butts and Lycoming County District Attorney Eric R. Linhardt about a day reporting center.
"It has not been brought forth to the commissioners in any sort of package. It's still pretty preliminary," Wheeland said. "The board of commissioners are certainly willing to listen to their recommendations when they bring them forward to define the need and cost associated with the implementation of a day reporting center. We must do something to slow up the recidivism in our prison system."
Prison Warden Kevin DeParlos said that inmate population for May was "significantly high" with an average daily population of 376.16 between male and female inmates at the prison and Pre-Release Center.
May's peak population between the two facilities reached 388. Capacity is 392.
DeParlos also noted high female populations at the prison and PRC.
The prison housed an average of 8.1 prisoners in other out-of-county facilities during May. That number is up from last year's monthly average of about 1.5 to 1.9 inmates, according to DeParlos.
The warden also said that a canine sweep of the prison and the PRC was conducted last month in search of drugs and cellphones. No items were discovered, he said.