Senate Approves Browne’s Criminal Justice Merger Bill

HARRISBURG, PA – The Senate today (March 24) gave final approval to legislation which will complete the merger of the Department of Corrections and the Pennsylvania Parole Board and the Board of Pardons, according to Senate Appropriations Chairman Pat Browne (R-Lehigh), who authored the bill.

“Through passage of this legislation, the Senate is taking an important step in providing for the full potential of creating additional efficiencies in services and programs,” Sen. Browne said. “I am proud to have worked with my colleagues in the General Assembly, the Department of Corrections, the Pennsylvania Parole Board and criminal justice advocates to permanently place in statute the ability of these agencies to expand their efforts.”

The Department of Corrections and Pennsylvania Parole Board have been working under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) since October 2017.   As a result of the MOU, the Commonwealth has achieved $12.1 million in savings from FY 2017-18 to FY 2019-20.

Senate Bill 411 statutorily implements these and other changes to Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) and 61 (Prisons and Parole) to merge the supervisory provisions of the Pennsylvanian Parole Board and the Board of Pardons into the Department of Corrections. The Pennsylvania Parole Board and Board of Pardons will remain independent boards with their own line item appropriation, with the newly merged department providing administrative support and resources.

Merger provisions contained in SB 411 will result in increased operational efficiencies through reduction of duplicative work and sharing of resources and personnel generating cost savings for the Commonwealth and taxpayers. Additionally, this legislation includes provisions aimed at reducing redundancies in the areas of human resources, implementation of a combined Management Operations Center and a single transportation system for offenders and parolees.

With the provisions of SB 411 fully implemented, the Commonwealth will experience additional projected savings of over $17.5 million from FY 2020-21 to FY 2022-23. These initiatives will create a projected savings of $29.6 million through FY 2022-23.

SB411 now moves to the House of Representatives for their consideration.

CONTACT: Vicki Wilken (Sen. Browne) ……………………………… 717-787-1349, vwilken@pasen.gov