Sandusky to undergo psychological tests for prison placement

Posted: October 11, 2012

Jerry Sandusky will not go directly to a permanent cell in Pennsylvania's prison system, a corrections official said after his sentencing Tuesday.

First, he must undergo a 30-day assessment at Camp Hill Correctional Facility that will decide his ultimate placement among the state's 27 prisons.

Sue Bensinger, deputy press secretary for the Department of Corrections, said Sandusky was being remanded to Camp Hill to face the same diagnostic and classification process as any other prisoner.

"An inmate is an inmate," she said.

All prisoners undergo physical and psychological tests, as well as a review of their criminal, educational, and vocational histories.

The aim is to create a safe and suitable plan for each one's housing and treatment, Bensinger said.

The evaluation period is two weeks to a month, but could be longer if the inmate is coming and going to court hearings.

Asked if age would be a factor in Sandusky's placement, Bensinger would only speak in general.

"All those factors come into play, but health conditions weigh more heavily than age," she said. Sandusky is 68 and received a sentence of 30 to 60 years behind bars.

She said one prison - Laurel Highlands in Somerset County - generally takes offenders who are chronically ill with end-stage diseases and require a highly staffed medical facility.

"All inmates would be assessed when they come in for chronic illness," she said. It is not known if Sandusky has any such condition.

In deference to their creaky knees, older inmates are housed in a cell on the first-floor tier. All inmates are given a roommate, she said.

"There is no special treatment," she said.

As far as security concerns, Bensinger said all inmates are looked at with consideration for their safety, and that of the population as a whole.

Bensinger said there would be no special limitations on Sandusky. He may get visitors, write and receive letters, and have access to the phone and TV just as others do.

He would only receive special restrictions if he disobeyed the rules.

"I hate to say it, but an inmate is an inmate," said Bensinger. "Unless they change their behavior and get into trouble, they go by the same guidelines as everyone.

"It's easier when dealing with a prison population. You know where you're coming from, and it makes everyone's life easier."


Contact Bonnie L. Cook at 610-313-8232 or bcook@phillynews.com.

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