HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – After years of talk about Pennsylvania’s mushrooming inmate population, the Corbett Administration has now scrapped plans for a $200 million prison near Pittsburgh — one of four new prisons that the state had planned to build.

Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley says Pennsylvania’s prison population actually remained steady at 51,000 last year, and he says contrary to what some may believe, not all state prisons are bulging.

“All the prisons are not overcrowded. There are some prisons that are being underutilized, as well as several community corrections centers and treatment centers.”

So citing those reasons, as well as an increased effort at alternative treatment aimed at reducing the prison population, the Corbett Administration has cancelled plans for a new prison in Fayette County, in the western part of the state.

Harley also notes that most of Pennsylvania’s inmate population is from the east, and there’s a desire to keep those inmates closer to their families. A new and bigger Graterford prison project is still in the works.

Reported by Tony Romeo, KYW Newsradio

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