IMPROVING OUTCOMES—Pennsylvania Secretary of Corrections John Wetzel tells the Courier he is dedicated to achieving better results for returning offenders and reducing prison populations. (Photo by J.L. Martello)

IMPROVING OUTCOMES—Pennsylvania Secretary of Corrections John Wetzel tells the Courier he is dedicated to achieving better results for returning offenders and reducing prison populations. (Photo by J.L. Martello)

When Gov. Tom Wolf took office last January, one of the first things he did was announce that he was retaining Corbett appointee John Wetzel as Secretary of Corrections, primarily for his achievements in reducing prison populations and recidivism rates.

Last month, that faith was rewarded as both Wolf and Wetzel were able to announce the largest single-year reduction in state prison populations in 40 years. The total population drop of 842 in 2015 is larger than the total drop of 756 from 2014 and Department of Correction’s (DOC) 2015 population of 49,914 is the lowest that it has been since March 2009.

“With fewer people coming into the system, fewer people returning to the system, and a continued level of smart and fair parole releases, our population is declining and we continue to move in the right direction,” said Wolf.

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