During Friday night's Annual Chamber of Commerce Membership Banquet, prison warden Greg Gebauer discussed the Elk County Prison System and provided a history for attendees.
Gebauer was hired in 1987 as a deputy sheriff by former sheriff Raymond Krasinski.
“In 1992, Sheriff Ray Krasinski announced his intentions of retiring as Elk County sheriff,” Gebauer said. “After approximately 28 years of service, the County Commissioners formed a prison board, at which time (they) took the responsibility (of the prison) away from the sheriff of Elk County and vested it solely within the Elk County Prison Board. When the prison board was formed, that was when the two agencies separated and I decided at that point to stay as a corrections officer with the prison.”
Gebauer was promoted to sergeant the same year, and in 1996 was promoted to deputy warden of the facility. In 2007 he was promoted to prison warden.
The first Elk County prison was built in 1848 at a cost of $106.25. It stood adjacent to the first courthouse and was constructed of stone. Due to the need for a more secure facility, it was torn down in 1885. During the completion of the new jail, a room in the courthouse basement was used as a temporary jail. This new facility cost $37,000.
In 1964, the facility was partially damaged by a fire started by a young inmate. Renovations to repair the damaged portion were completed in 1966. In 1980, repairs were made to the building to make it compliant with government regulations.
“In 1995, a 10,000 square foot addition and renovation was completed at a cost of $3 million,” Gebauer said. “The current facility is in compliance with the stringent regulations set forth by the Pa. Department of Corrections.”
He said the facility has the capacity to house 84 inmates to include pretrial, sentenced and work-release inmates.
For more on this story, see the Nov. 1 edition of The Daily Press.