Overcrowding remains the biggest problem at Berks County Prison.When Warden Wagner started in the mid 70s, the population was 165 inmates. In the early 2000s overcrowding began to become a serious issue.

Wagner said the trend of "getting tough on crime" or incarcerating more and more people each year isn't always the answer.

"We're trying to fix problems in society with jails and prisons when these problems can be addressed in other ways," Wagner said, adding that a lot of problems inmates have are from broken families and broken relationships.

Several correctional officers share the challenges of their jobs. Spatz said getting all of the paperwork correct is a challenge.

"Also when you first get a block it's rough," Spatz said. "Then you get to know the inmates and they get to know you."

Correctional Officer Michael Vargas added, "The biggest challenge is the unexpected part of it. Every day is something new so you have to be on your toes. If you're lax on things, the inmates can feed on it."

comments powered by Disqus