by Julian Heicklen

Since approximately 1991, the State Correctional Institution (SCI) at Cresson has been doing laundry for the Veteran's hospital in Hollidaysburg, replacing civilian workers.

In 1995, SCI Somerset formed a commercial laundry run by inmates that replaced laundry workers in the mental institution (now Laurel Highlands Correctional Institution). The laundry also worked for hospitals in the community and in Johnstown.

SCI Mercer has a Community Work Project in the community working in public buildings and state parks. Inmates do not replace regular employees, but they do replace students and temporary help. Inmates get $0.50 per hour. Operation Outward Reach (OOR) is another program where inmates work in the surrounding areas. OOR runs a sign shop in SCI Mercer that produces signs for the municipalities and non-profit organizations. OOR is permitted to bid on state projects. To get around the restriction on using inmate labor, the prison places inmates on furlough.