has an adequate law library. The York County Prison authorities shall submit a plan, in accordance with the guidelines set forth herein, to the court within sixty days setting forth the manner in which they will guarantee effective access to the courts for county inmates.
The court now turns to the issue of whether the York County Prison is in violation of the state minimum requirements for county jails embodied in 37 Pa.Code §§ 95.221-95.248 (adopted April 6, 1973). These standards, which were promulgated by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Correction, are divided into minimum requirements and recommended guidelines. The consent decree requires the county prison to meet only the minimum standards. The recommended guidelines, which are not binding in general on county prisons, are not binding on the York County Prison under the agreement set forth in the consent decree. This was the understanding of the parties at the time the consent decree was entered into and it was with this understanding that this court approved the consent decree in May 1973.
The court finds that the defendants are in full compliance with the minimum requirements pertaining to: Personnel set forth in 37 Pa.Code § 95.221(a); Admission set forth in 37 Pa.Code § 95.222(a); Orientation set forth in 37 Pa.Code § 95.223; Rules and regulations set forth in 37 Pa.Code § 95.224; Classification set forth in 37 Pa.Code § 95.225(a), (b); Housing set forth in 37 Pa.Code § 95.226(b)(2), (3), (4); Housing for juveniles set forth in 37 Pa.Code § 95.227; Clothing set forth in 37 Pa.Code § 95.228(a), (b); Bedding set forth in 37 Pa.Code § 95.229(a); Food services set forth in 37 Pa.Code § 95.230(a); Personal hygiene set forth in 37 Pa.Code § 95.231; Medical and health services set forth in 37 Pa.Code § 95.232(a); Visiting set forth in 37 Pa.Code § 95.233(a)(1), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8); Correspondence set forth in 37 Pa.Code § 95.234(a); Work programs set forth in 37 Pa.Code § 95.235(a); Library set forth in 37 Pa.Code § 95.236(a); Religion set forth in 37 Pa.Code § 95.237(a); Recreation set forth in 37 Pa.Code § 95.238; Commissary set forth in 37 Pa.Code § 95.239; Discipline and punishment set forth in 37 Pa.Code § 95.240(a); Security set forth in 37 Pa.Code § 95.241(a)(1)(ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi), (vii), (viii), (ix), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), (9); Extraordinary occurrences reports set forth in 37 Pa.Code § 95.242; Treatment services set forth in 37 Pa.Code § 95.243(a); Investigations of deaths set forth in 37 Pa.Code § 95.246; Notification set forth in 37 Pa.Code § 95.247; Sanitation and safety set forth in 37 Pa.Code § 95.248(1), (2), (3). As these findings indicate, the York County Prison is in substantial compliance with the state minimum standards. However, the court finds that the prison is in violation of four of the minimum requirements -- 37 Pa.Code §§ 95.233(a)(2), 95.226(a), (b)(1), 95.241(a)(1)(i), and 95.248(4) -- and that corrective action, as set forth infra, must be undertaken by the defendants.
First, in violation of 37 Pa.Code § 95.233(a)(2), inmates who are guilty of misconducts and placed on the segregation tier are denied their ordinary visitation rights. The minimum standards state that prisoners shall not be denied visits as punishment unless the reason for the denial is due to a serious violation of the visiting rules or there is an obvious security threat. The defendants are directed to comply with this proscription.
Second, in violation of 37 Pa.Code § 95.226(a), (b)(1), inmates at the York County Prison are not properly housed because of overcrowded conditions. The county prison has three floors which contain cells. Each floor is divided into four tiers, with a doorway between each tier. Each tier has a row of seven cells. There are 28 cells on each floor. Thus, the prison has 84 habitable cells. Each cell has approximately 56 square feet of space and is equipped with two bunks, mattresses, fire-resistant mattress covers, fire-resistant pillows, pillow covers, blankets, a toilet and a wash basin. The population of the prison fluctuates between 140 and 190. For example, in May 1975, the daily average was 172, with the highest day in May being 184 and the lowest 157. By comparison, in April 1975 the daily population average was 147, the highest day being 162 and the lowest 139. With a total of 84 habitable cells, each cell ordinarily houses two inmates, which the cell is equipped to do. However, since a maximum of 168 inmates can be housed in cells, when the population exceeds 168, as it often does, inmates are housed on cots in the walkways outside the cells.
Thus, it is apparent that the prison is greatly overcrowded.
This overcrowding makes it impossible for the prison administrators to provide proper housing for all the inmates and also makes it impossible to house prisoners in groups according to their classification. The overcrowded conditions also create a security risk, particularly for the guards who have to pass through the walkway in which inmates are housed on cots.
The present overcrowded conditions at the York County Prison are hazardous and unlawful. To remedy this situation the county prison authorities within ninety days shall reduce the inmate population to a point at which all prisoners are incarcerated in a cell, with no more than two persons per cell. In cases where in an extreme emergency the protection of the public demands immediate confinement of a large number of persons, this limit on jail population may be exceeded for a period of not more than forty-eight hours. In addition, within ninety days of the date of this memorandum and order, the York County Prison authorities shall achieve the following at the York County Prison:
1. Segregate from the general population habitual criminals -- i.e., those who have three or more convictions, 37 Pa.Code § 95.226(b)(iii);
2. Segregate from the general population prisoners who are mentally weak, 37 Pa.Code § 95.226(b)(ii), and those who are in poor health or suffering from any disease, 37 Pa.Code § 95.226(b)(i);
3. Establish an inmate housing system in which pretrial detainees and convicted prisoners are not housed in the same cell, and to the extent possible, in which pretrial detainees are housed in different tiers than convicted prisoners.
Third, it is clear that the York County Prison does not employ the required number of correctional officers. The testimony established that there were eight officers on the day shift, seven on the evening shift, four on the middle shift, and eight on the swing shift. Therefore, 27 correctional officers are employed at the county prison. 37 Pa.Code § 95.241(a)(1)(i) provides that the minimum custody ratio is one officer per shift for 15 inmates, with the right of the prison administrator to schedule his officers as he sees fit. Assuming an inmate population of 168, the maximum which the prison can now hold consistent with the court's holding supra that all inmates must be incarcerated in cells with no more than two per cell, the county prison must employ a minimum of 33 full-time correctional officers in order to comply with 37 Pa.Code § 95.241(a)(1)(i). Therefore, the York County Prison authorities shall employ within 120 days the additional correctional officers needed to meet the state minimum of 33. Failure to do so will result in the court fixing a lower number of inmates, commensurate with the number of correctional officers employed, which can be incarcerated at the county prison. For example, with only 27 correctional officers, the prison can lawfully incarcerate a maximum of 135 inmates.
Finally, there is a serious question as to whether the prison is in compliance with safety standards and fire regulations promulgated by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, as required by 37 Pa.Code § 95.248(4). The regulations in question were promulgated under the Fire and Panic Act, 35 P.S. § 1221 et seq. Defendants assert that the Fire and Panic Act, which was enacted in 1927, does not apply to a building such as the York County Prison which was constructed in 1905, before the enactment of the statute. The language of the Act makes this contention untenable. 35 P.S. § 1224 states in pertinent part:
". . . Where the department finds, after proper investigation, that, in buildings erected prior to the passage of this act, the internal ways of egress herein provided for cannot be installed, it may direct that such means of egress be provided as will, in its judgment, to better advantage carry out the intent and purpose of this section. The Department of Labor and Industry may order fire walls, smoke barriers, additional fireproofing, or the enclosure of vertical openings, to be built in buildings already erected, or which may hereafter be erected, where in its judgment the erection of such fire walls, smoke barriers, additional fireproofing, or the enclosure or vertical openings is necessary to the reasonable safe protection of the occupants. The ways of egress shall be free from obstruction, lighted, and ready for instant use at all times. Fire escapes, now in use or hereafter erected, shall be painted at least once a year, and be kept in safe condition, and up to such standard requirements as may be specified by the Department of Labor and Industry. The means of egress for special purpose buildings shall be approved by the Department of Labor and Industry. . . ." (Emphasis supplied.)
Section 1221 of the Fire and Panic Act, 35 P.S. § 1221, provides in relevant part:
". . . Whenever any building designated in this act shall, in the opinion of the Department of Labor and Industry, become dangerous to further occupancy because of structural or other defects, it shall immediately be closed to further occupancy, and a sign posted thereon to that effect. Such building shall not again be occupied until all recommendations of the department to eliminate hazardous conditions are complied with." (Emphasis supplied.)