Plans to outsource mental health services at 27 Pa. state prisons face opposition

    Some Pennsylvania lawmakers are opposing a state Department of Corrections proposal to outsource mental health services at 27 state prisons in the commonwealth.

    Department spokeswoman Susan McNaughton told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that as many as 187 positions could be contracted out to save money and improve services.

    The positions include licensed psychologist managers, licensed psychologists and psychological services specialists. McNaughton said some services are already run by a private contractor “so this is nothing new.”

    But opponents say the work should continue to be done by state employees. Rep. Mike Fleck, R-Huntingdon, says he plans to introduce legislation to bar such outsourcing.

    Department statistics indicate that about one-fifth of the more than 51,000 inmates in the state prison system require some type of mental health monitoring or treatment.

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