Nothing in Luzerne County Charter prevents employees from visiting inmates, chief solicitor says

Last updated: August 13. 2014 9:21PM - 1402 Views
By - elewis@timesleader.com

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WILKES-BARRE — Luzerne County Chief Solicitor C. David Pedri said Wednesday there is nothing in the county’s Home Rule Charter that prohibits county employees from visiting inmates.

Pedri also said District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis has “not reached out” to him or the solicitor’s office for guidance on a personnel matter in her office.

Pedri said Salavantis, an elected official, would be responsible to impose any disciplinary actions if she determines if any violation has occurred.

Salavantis confirmed Tuesday her office is looking into a personnel matter within her office but did not disclose the reason why. She repeated her position on Wednesday.

WILK host Steve Corbett reported on his radio show Tuesday that Assistant District Attorney Michael Melnick visited a female inmate “he calls his soul mate.”

Melnick could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

It remains unknown if the alleged visit by an assistant district attorney was professional or social and where the visit took place inside the county correctional facility.

Assistant district attorneys, police officers, public defenders and defense attorneys often meet with inmates for whatever reason in a private, glass enclosed room. Visits in these rooms are face to face.

Regular visitors, including reporters, converse with inmates by telephone and separated by a thick glass wall. There have been times when a reporter had face-to-face interviews with inmates.

All visitors must record in a register log at the front desk their name, date, company and address, inmate they are visiting, purpose of visit and time when they arrive and time when they leave.

The log book is open to public review only after a Right to Know request is filed for a particular inmate. Entries by visitors to other inmates are blocked.

The Times Leader filed a Right to Know Request on Wednesday seeking visits to an inmate who Corbett linked to Melnick. She was jailed in June on a parole violation on retail theft convictions.

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