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York County advances plan to relocate central booking to prison

Matt Enright
York Dispatch

York County passed another step in its attempts to relocate Central Booking, where criminal suspects are processed, to York County Prison.

The Board of Commissioners approved a motion authorizing President Commissioner Julie Wheeler to sign a certificate of ownership regarding the land development plan in Springettsbury Township, where the prison is located.

The move is designed to streamline the booking process, especially in cases where medical attention may be needed. At the prison, medical staff could conduct a checkup on a prisoner without needing to take them to a hospital. According to county officials, this would save time and money on prisoner transport.

"I believe the relocation will save money and consolidate operations to improve efficiencies," said county Commissioner Doug Hoke, who serves as president of the Prison Board of Inspectors.

York County Prison in Springettsbury Township Monday, August, 24, 2020. Bill Kalina photo

President Commissioner Julie Wheeler, after the unanimous approval of the board last week, will sign off on a land development plan for the proposal. It will still require the approval of Springettsbury Township officials, who did not respond to requests for comment Monday.

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Discussions over relocating central booking accelerated earlier this year after the Prison Board approved planning. The move, planned by C.S. Davidson and Buchart Horn Architects, could cost up to $3.3 million.

Warden Adam Ogle said that those at the prison were extremely happy at the design of the move.

"The Sheriff’s Department worked closely with the Prison, Probation, police, and the courts, to ensure that all needs were met," Ogle said. "This project is a great example of the collaborative efforts of our county leaders."

York County Chief Clerk Greg Monskie said the county could be putting the project out to bid for construction in the next few months.

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According to Springettsbury Township manager Mark Hodgkinson, the Board of Supervisors approved the land development pan at its Nov. 16 meeting.

In February, York County Regional Police Chief Tim Damon told the Prison Board in February that if a prisoner needed medical attention, they currently need to be brought to a hospital outside of the Judicial Center.

"What an officer has to do then is leave booking, take that [suspect] to York Hospital or a hospital and then wait," Damon said. "And then they have to transport them back to central booking and go through that intake process again." 

Another York County official to speak in favor of the move was Sheriff Rich Keuerleber.

"If there's ever a time to make a move, the time is now," Keuerleber said in February.

— Reach Matt Enright via email at menright@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @Matthew_Enright.