County Council finally agreed to adopt the modern County Jail Oversight Board at their September 25th meeting. This is a tremendous win for accountability and transparency in the management of George W. Hill Correctional Facility!
Delaware County's Board of Prison Inspectors currently has 5 unelected members. The new board set forth in PA Statute Title 61, Chapter 17 will now include elected officials and members of the public, as follows:
The county chief executive
Two judges of the court of common pleas, one of whom shall be the president judge, or his designee who shall be a judge, and one judge appointed by the president judge
The county sheriff
The county controller
The president of county council or his designee
Three citizen members
We have been told that the criteria for citizen board members will be posted on the county's website, with the goal of having those positions filled by the November 27th County Council meeting.
The discussion became heated at times between County Council members. The Delco Times provides a good overview of the meeting. Joanne Phillips, the Delaware County Controller, raised concerns about accounts under control of the current prison staff that have distributed funds without any type of supporting documentation. There is also $750,000 that is owed back to Delaware County sitting in bank accounts and not being used for anything. We will update this post when we have more details to share.
We want to thank each and every one of you who raised your voice and shared your story with County Council over the past 2 years. Your work has contributed to real progress toward prison reform here in Delco!