SCI Forest hosted groups of Pennsylvania legislators with tours on Aug. 24 and 26.
On Aug. 24, Sen. Nikil Saval, who represents PA's 1st District, along with staffers Emma Boorboor and Alfredo Chuquihuara, toured the facility. They were joined by Lena Smith from Rep. Rick Krajewski's office. Rep. Krajewski represents PA's 188th District.
On Aug. 26, the facility welcomed Sen. Scott Hutchinson, who represents PA's 21st District; Staffer Zack Ankeny from Sen. Cris Dush's office, who represents PA's 25th District; Rep. Donna Oberlander, who represents PA's 63rd District and Staffer Kerle; Rep. Kathy Rapp, who represents PA's 65th District; and Forest County Commissioner Basil Huffman.
Both tours began with a meet-and-greet session with administrative staff followed by a tour of the facility, led by Superintendent Derek Oberlander. Both tours featured the PA Correctional Industries Vehicle Restoration Plant, where refurbishing of wheels, plows trucks and more are done for the PA Department of Transportation. Visitors also saw the education building — which featured a demonstration of the CDL simulator — the medical department, chapel, the Restricted Housing Unit, Behavior Management Unit and a General Population Housing Unit.
The legislators and staffers thanked DOC staff they met along the tour for what they do. During the tour on Aug. 26, the legislators also met with several employees and expressed gratitude for their service, especially during the pandemic. In addition, the legislators met with inmates from Forest's inmate organization, Hope for Change. The group included several members of the lifers and long-term committee, who have donated more than $12,000 to several local non-profit organizations during the pandemic.
This was an excellent opportunity to showcase the positive things occurring in the facility despite being in the middle of a pandemic.