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This Week’s LION: Community Relations Board at Allenwood FCC

When the Allenwood Federal Corrections Complex opened in 1993, there were some concerned citizens that lived nearby. One of these was a feisty mother of seven, named Liz Steward, who lived about a mile away from the new facility. She had spent years in the 1970s and 80s wrestling with Lycoming County over their efforts to put in a landfill practically in her backyard. Her efforts, along with others, led to the eventual construction of a state-of-art sanitary resource management facility, which Lycoming County has today.

So when Liz Steward saw this mammoth new prison just down the road from her home being constructed, she met with the officials there and asked how they intended to interact with the local communities. To the credit of those original leaders at the Allenwood FCC, they designed one of the most active community relations boards in the federal prison system with Liz Steward, one of the founding members. This wonderful lady has sadly passed away, but the CRB she helped initiate has continued to meet quarterly for the past two and a half decades.

At a typical meeting, there are management officials from the two prisons and penitentiary which make up the complex, along with community representatives from area township governments, the Lycoming County Resource Management System, the Lycoming Planning Department, the United Way, Geisinger Hospital, Muncy Prison, the Pennsylvania State Police, the list goes on and on. Not every institution is there every meeting. Some attendees are more regular than others; some contribute more actively than others. It is an organic organization; there are no set rules.

Yet, there have been many examples of cooperation and collaboration over the years. Once or twice annually, the prison holds a “Job Fair” for inmates about to be released to help them prepare for employment upon reentry, and local employees and agencies serve as “interviewers” for mock interviews for the event. There are training sessions for emergencies held at the prison assisted by area health providers and law enforcement agencies. When the federal government went into a budget freeze last year that caused employees at the prison to miss a few paydays, the local food banks stepped up and provided assistance to get them through the crisis.

But the prison gives back to the community as well. For over twenty years, the FCC Allenwood has allowed the public to enter the prison grounds for open house events at the historic Stone Church. The prison works diligently to maintain the church and grounds. The Montgomery Area Historical Society is hosting a Christmas Candlelight Service at the Stone Church on Saturday, December 14th at 2 p.m. The church will be open at 1 p.m. with memorabilia on display. Entrance is the White Deer Golf Course entrance off of Rt. 15, following the signs past the gate.

Federal employment has many advantages, and the prison is currently looking for a number of different positions. Information about the Bureau of Prisons and applying for posts can be found on the website: Or you could check it out personally by attending a Job Fair to be held at the Training Center of Allenwood FCC on December 11th between 12-5 p.m. They are particularly seeking correctional officers, psychologists, physician assistants, medical officers, dentists, cook supervisors, and chaplains. Questions can be directed to the Human Resources Staff at 570-547-1990.

Larry Stout welcomes your comments or input. He can be reached by email:

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