Contact Information 
District Office
1 West Broad Street
Suite 100
Hazleton, PA 18201
Phone: (570) 453-1344
Fax: (570) 459-3946
Hours:  8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m
.

Capitol Office
47 East Wing,
Main Capitol
PO Box 202116
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2116
Phone: (717) 260-6136
Phone (Toll-Free): 855-282-0611

Fax: (717) 782-2921
Marsico and Toohil Request Special Investigation by Pennsylvania State Auditor General
3/1/2011

Majority Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Rep. Ron Marsico (R-Dauphin County) and member of the House Judiciary Committee Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne) have requested an investigation into the operation of a Hazleton facility, with which the state Department of Corrections has a contract to provide beds and services to offenders completing their state sentences in the community.   

That facility is owned by MinSec Companies and has had a troubled history since its opening in 2008, which prompted Marsico and Toohil to send a letter to Auditor General Jack Wagner and request the investigation.   

“I am deeply concerned about the negative impact this facility and its residents are having on downtown Hazleton,” said Toohil.  “Repeated incidents of offenders leaving the facility and never coming back have been reported.  Further, offenders are committing crimes, including retail theft, bank robbery and aggravated assault in the Hazleton area.” 

Former Corrections Secretary Jeffrey Beard acknowledged offenders were walking away from the facility when he stated in an April 20, 2010, letter that there was a problem with “absconders who failed to return to the program.” 

“The former secretary’s acknowledgement about offenders escaping from MinSec Hazleton raises serious red flags about security at this facility,” said Marsico.  “So does the fact that the offenders who are housed in this facility have been arrested for bank robbery, indecent exposure, aggravated assault, and theft.  It is clear to Representative Toohil and me that the crimes allegedly committed by the offenders have created a paradox where the offender enjoys unlimited freedom, while the law-abiding citizen is forced to lock himself in his home.”   

According to the Department of Corrections, the department contracts with MinSec Hazleton for group home, mental health, and alcohol and other drug treatment beds.  This facility also has a specialized unit which houses violent offenders called “category three offenders.”  Further, the Department of Corrections reports it spent $4.4 million in fiscal year 2009-10 to house offenders at MinSec Hazleton.  So far this fiscal year, the department states it has spent $2.2 million to house offenders.  Currently, according to the Department of Corrections, this facility does not house federal or county offenders. 

“The impact this facility is having on our community continues to grow,” Toohil added.  “Convicted criminals from this facility are walking the streets of Hazleton and committing crimes against local residents.  That is absolutely unacceptable.” 

The letter states:  “Because over $6 million in Commonwealth funds have been expended thus far and because of the intolerable level of crime committed by offenders housed by MinSec, we respectfully request that the Office of Special Investigations conduct an investigation into the operation of MinSec Hazleton, especially as it concerns security of the facility, and determine whether MinSec Hazleton is fulfilling its contractual obligations to the Commonwealth and the Department of Corrections.” 

“These offenders have become an issue for the entire community,” said Marsico.  “Parents are afraid to let their children go to the library, residents are afraid to walk downtown, and business owners are afraid that they will be robbed.”     

Click here to view a copy of the letter sent by the lawmakers to the auditor general and click here find a link to the chronology of criminal activity of offenders housed by MinSec Hazleton which appeared in the Feb. 25, 2011 edition of the Wilkes-Barre & Scranton The Times Leader.   

State Representative Ron Marsico
105th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact:  Autumn Southard
asouthar@pahousegop.com
rmarsico@pahousegop.com
717.652.3721           
RonMarsico.com
Facebook.com/RepMarsico

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