- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 5, 2016

SOMERSET, Pa. (AP) - A disciplinary model that has reduced inmate assaults at a western Pennsylvania prison is being implemented at nine other state prisons.

The system - known as the Swift, Certain & Fair model - will be implemented at prisons in Muncy, Frackville, Camp Hill, Houtzdale, Benner, Albion Coal Township, Mercer and Dallas, Brett Bucklen, director of research for the state Department of Corrections told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (http://bit.ly/29lno5I).

The model aims to reduce inmate aggression by penalizing offenders swiftly and consistently.

It has been used as part of a pilot program at the State Correctional Institution in Somerset, which Bucklen said had 20 assaults on staff last year and 35 on inmates.

Officials say there have been three assaults on staff at the prison from January through April and seven on inmates.

The disciplinary system addresses nine punishable behaviors, such as lying to workers, not standing for count, body punching and horseplay. Correctional officers handle punishment duties so they can be determined as quickly as possible.

SCI Somerset Superintendent Trevor Wingard said it’s important that punishments are handed out without delay.

“If an inmate commits an infraction on Friday and then there’s the weekend, maybe the examiner takes a vacation,” he said. “When the inmate is punished, he might not even remember what he did.”

Bucklen said the program will probably become standard operating procedure at the Somerset prison, if a second pilot program goes well.

The pilot started in January in one housing unit. It was extended for 90 days in April and will be expanded to another housing unit this month.

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Information from: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, http://pghtrib.com

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