Saturday, January 22, 2011

MinSec- A Tale Of Misdirection For Approval?

Application ZA-116-07- MinSec Companies, LLC requesting a use variance for the operation of a residential skilled development transitional living treatment program located at 145 West Broad Street, the Altamont Building, a CZ Zone

That statement comes from the transcript of the proceedings before the Zoning Hearing Board of Hazleton City on October 18, 2007. Hold onto that thought as you read this post. There are many who blamed former Mayor Lou Barletta for the placement of MinSec in downtown Hazleton. Let's see what the record states. Let's see what the press left out in its coverage of the approval process because of the obvious bias present at the Standard Speaker against Lou Barletta and now Mayor Joe Yannuzzi.

Attorney Henry Giuliani represented MinSec before the Zoning Hearing Board at these proceedings. He called several witnesses including Ed Pane, President and Chief Executive Officer of Serento Gardens, Jonathan Wasp, Vice President of Treatment Services MinSec, and Anthony Amiano, owner of The Altamont who was leasing the building to Visionary Companies, LLC on behalf of MinSec, LLC.

Mr. Wasp was called to testify and his testimony starts on page 6 of the transcript. He states he is "a facility director of a treatment program in Scranton, MinSec Scranton." "I currently serve as the facility director, so I do the administrative oversight and problematic considerations for our Scranton location. He states he will be the facility director, at least temporarily in Hazleton.

Q. Would you describe the mission of MinSec?

A. We provide transition living programs for adult males. Each of our programs are a little bit different. The programs we operate in Philadelphia, some of them operate with federal contracts, some with state contracts, some with county contracts. Our Scranton program operates entirely on state contracts. And at this point our consideration for Hazleton would be state contracts here as well.

Q. And what kind of referrals do you get?

A. We take adult males. The residents who are referred to our program have a number of issues that we do assessments on. The consideration we're giving at this time is for an inpatient drug and alcohol treatment program.

Q. How many beds would there be in the Hazleton project?

A. At this point in time we're looking at two floors, floors 4 and 5. So we currently at this point we've considered 50, 25 per floor.

Q. How many employees would there be?

A. Because we're regulated by the Department of Health which as an entity that's solely responsible for this type of program, drug and alcohol programs
...and he goes on to explain staffing..

MinSec's main purpose is not a "drug and alcohol treatment program" according to its own website.

MinSec is a leading provider of private community correctional centers.

MinSec's primary correctinal focus and expertise: Developing and operating community correctional facilities.

Jack Sommers is the Director of the Bureaus of Community Corrections within the Department of Corrections.

This bureau is responsible for residential facilities located in various Pennsylvania communities. These facilities, also known as half-way houses, provide a transitional process by allowing residents monitored contact with jobs and educational opportunities. The facilities house inmates in prerelease status and inmates granted parole by the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole. The department also contracts with private vendors to provide specialized treatment and supervision service, many in the area of substance abuse programming.

This document from the Department of Corrections was issued September 17, 2008. Policy Subject: Community Corrections Centers

This policy is applicable to all facilities operated under the jurisdiction of, or conducting business with the Department of Corrections.


It is the policy of the Department to provide housing and transitional services to residents of Community Corrections Centers and Community Contract Facilities until such time that a resident is released."

Section 21 – Specialized Community Corrections Centers

A. Location

The Specialized Community Corrections Centers (CCCs) are as follows:

1. Region 1 – Kintock-Erie;

2. Region 2 – Harrisburg CCC and Minsec of Hazelton; and

3. Region 3 – Renewal Inc. and Erie CCC.

B. Inmate Accountability and Daily Operations

An inmate paroled to a designated Specialized CCC will be subject to a morestructured/controlled daily routine.

I ask you to draw your own conclusions from the testimony and the information provided whether the testimony offered before the Zoning Hearing Board of Hazleton City was accurate and precise or general and misdirection. Is MinSec under the auspices of the Department of Corrections or the Department of Health? Are the services they provide part of a community correctional facility or a health services facility?

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