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Moshannon Valley Federal Prison

Not the best way to start the new year that’s what many are saying in the Moshannon Valley area after hearing about the uncertain future for an institution that’s a major economic factor for the region.

Shocked and stunned that’s just some of the reaction in the Philipsburg area after hearing that a major employer, the federal prison just a few miles outside of town, could be closing in two months.

At his True Value hardware store, the owner is among those in disbelief about the possible closing of the Moshannon Valley Correctional Facility.

When opened to federal inmates in 2006, the facility was the first privately operated prison in the state.

But now, the Federal Bureau of Prisons is deciding not to renew the contract with the prison owner, the GEO Group.

Stan LaFuria, Director of the Local Economic Partnership, had this response: “It is shocking to learn of this decision when it has been known for years that the GEO Moshannon Valley facility has been top rated by the FBOP, well managed and well maintained.”

There’s close to 280 employees at the prison.

Some local officials say the news comes at the worst possible time because there’re still a lot of people who are already out of work.

In terms of the economic impact, for the Philipsburg-Osceola School District, the prison provides nearly $470,000 a year in tax revenue.

Plus, there’s the business they do in the community.

In confirming the prison contract, which expires on March 31, will not be renewed, the feds say the inmates will be transferred elsewhere.

In citing a decline in federal inmates, the GEO Group says they have one or two other prisons in the same situation as the Moshannon Valley facility where the feds are not renewing the contracts.

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