Contact: Allison Benner, College Relations Associate – Media, 610-740-3790

Roughly 45 Women Play Role of Inmate to Test-Run Northampton County's Cutting-Edge New Prison Facility

Allentown, PA (March 27, 2006) – On Saturday, April 8th, students from Cedar Crest College's Addictions, Psychopathology and Crime class will spend eight hours as inmates in Northampton County's newest prison facility.

The housing unit is preparing to open its doors to real inmates this summer, but needs to test-run the services and functions of the facility before it is officially opened. Scott Hoke, criminal justice professor at Cedar Crest and acting warden at the prison, saw the situation as a valuable opportunity for future criminal justice leaders to experience and understand how the prison system works.

The Cedar Crest inmates will aid prison staff in testing a variety of procedures that may include cell extraction, a fire drill, visitation, food services and an emergency medical drill. Hoke will also conduct a class in the new facility about the connection between drugs and crime; a fitting setting since 65 percent of the inmate population is drug or alcohol affected.

"What they will take part in and learn throughout their day serves as a great supplement to the material they are learning in the classroom," says Hoke. "The facility itself is a drastic change from what we've had previously in the county so their presence for test-running the jail will help make it run more efficiently when it's open."

Unlike the older buildings, which were erected in the late 19th century, these new 21st century housing units are completely self-contained. "Basically an inmate will never have to leave the unit because all of her needs can be met inside it including meals, recreation and visitation. Each unit even has its own law library," says Hoke.

Students will be at the Northampton County Prison from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on April 8th.

***Photo, video and interview opportunities are available by appointment only as there are some visual restrictions.***

For more detailed information, please contact the College Relations Office at 610.740.3790.


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