Meadville Tribune

January 23, 2014

County jail visitation program nearly up and running

By Keith Gushard
Meadville Tribune

SAEGERTOWN — Once furniture is delivered, a new program at the Crawford County jail allowing inmates visitation with their children is set to begin.

Jail Warden Tim Lewis updated members of the Crawford County Prison Board on the status of the program at the board’s monthly meeting Thursday at the jail in Saegertown.

The inmate library has been relocated within the facility to accommodate the new program, which was first announced in December.

The inmate-child visitation program will be an inmate privilege for inmates who have a record of good behavior and who attend all their required rehabilitative programs — such as drug and alcohol or mental health counseling, according to Lewis.

The inmate-child visits will be monitored by a corrections officer from an adjoining room.

The former inmate library room is being modified into a more child-friendly atmosphere, including having children’s toys and a play area.

Furniture for the program is expected to arrive within the next 30 days or less, according to President Judge Anthony Vardaro of Crawford County Court of Common Pleas. Vardaro coordinated a committee of local court and jail staff to look into establishing the child visitation program after learning about such programs at a recent judicial conference.

The changes are being paid from earnings from the jail’s commissary fund. The commissary allows inmates to purchase things such as candy bars and other items.