County Executive Vows To Take Action After TV Purchase At Jail

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato says he was unaware of the purchase of 40 flat-screen TVs for inmates at the Allegheny County Jail until our story aired Monday night.

He vowed to take action.

“You brought this to my attention. We’re going to look at a few things. One – why are they buying these TVs? Two – is it a luxury? And three – can we stop it?”

The $16,000 for the TVs came from the Inmate Welfare Fund – profits from the money spent by the inmates at the jail commissary.

The jail oversight board approved it over the objections of Allegheny County Controller Mark Flaherty who argued the money should be used for programs that help inmates make a successful reentry into society.

“Rather than having them in jail watching Sony Bravia TV on 42-inch flat-screen TVs for Steeler games and their favorite soap operas,” Flaherty said.

“The controller is absolutely right,” Onorato said.

Onorato says the money should be for the welfare of the inmates which he says could mean the operation of the jail.

“I don’t care if it’s making sure we have enough guards, making sure that we have the proper security down there,” he said.

Not Sony Bravia flat-screens.

“Should they have a TV down there? OK maybe – maybe you have TVs on the pods,” Onorato said. “Question is – do you need a top of the line TV? No.”

And so the people have spoken and have been heard.

Onorato says he will try to stop the delivery of these flat-screen TVs which many working people say they can’t afford for their own homes.

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Allegheny County Jail

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  • Curious.....

    Really? 42 inch flat screens? Smh… Whoever approved that needs to be fired-ASAP!!!

  • 4north1side2

    :::Shrugs::: It’s the inmates money.

    • sadcityresident

      no its not ! When I go to the store and pay taxes on what I buy dont get a free flat screen tv…why is this any different?

    • Hardly True

      They’re criminals . . . don’t you get it? They GAVE UP their freedom . . . they have no rights, because they’re all LOSERS.

    • Sage

      Exactly. But, it’s a great opportunity for political and media outrage, because it’s at the expense of inmates.

  • Curious.....

    Instead of using “their money” for flat screens, they should use it to offset the cost of them being housed at the jail, instead of taxpayers footing the bill! Lol @ at the expense of inmates… More like the expense of taxpayers. If it’s “their money” do they get to watch what they want on “their tv’s”? Once they leave the jail, do they get to take “their tv’s” with them? Just curious…..

  • appalled

    ya, it is their money and they prob got it from robbing an innocent person’s house. Not every single inmate is a terrible person, but if you do something that is worthy of you being placed in jail, you do not deserve the same privileges or even better as someone who is not in jail. Get a clue and wake up. The whole system is shady including the way their payroll is. They were paying many CO’s overtime up to 100,000 a year. Why? I know many people that would love a job down there, and then you wouldn’t have to pay some of these people all this overtime. Seems like a lot of wasted money going into that place when their is no need for it.

  • Bruce USA

    Where’s the deterrent??? These inmates need to be out on chain gangs cleaning up this city six days a week from the crack of dawn till sunset. No TV or if they do watch TV it’s institutional programming on how to straighten out their lives! Not regular programming!!! Where’s the leadership in this stupid city that complains about everything yet lets this kind of “country club” living continue at the county jail??? And take the money they earn and put it towards there health and up keep. Us taxpayers are getting tired of paying their way.

    • Dave Grimm

      AGREED!!!!! couldnt say it better myself, i talk all the time about using chain gangs again. bring back hard labor, where they are working 20 hours a day 6 days a week. then maybe we wouldnt have jail over crowding!

      • ALSO AGREE

        Chain gangs GREAT IDEA, let them do work that will save the taxpayer from housing them .

  • Critter

    all democrats. Keep voting for them.

  • robert klopfenstein

    This makes me sick. Wasting money in this manner on criminals. I am disgusted.

    • no

      IT”S THE INMATES MONEY! Well Jail profits from THIER MONEY!

      • Andrew

        its tax money. I dont get back the money I pay in taxes..why should some mope


    They should have bought some phones.Did you ever try to call the Allegheny County Jail,to check on someone?The staff are all standing around wondering , “WHATS THAT RINGING NOISE”?

    • Huh?

      Maybe if your dad wasn’t a criminal, he wouldn’t be in jail. What makes you think he’s ENTITLED to receive phone calls? Staff has better things to do than answer your stupid phone call.

  • roxy

    That is terrible. Make them work for their free meals, free medical, free education. They get better treatment than our military.

  • Unbelievable

    What about RESTITUTION? One of these CRIMINALS totalled my car, yet I haven’t received ONE CENT in restituion. I don’t care if he’s got to scrub toilets with a toothbrush forever to make 2 cents, give me what’s coming to ME.

  • Phil

    Lets rrealy punish the inmate. 24/7 Barney and Teletubbies. But for some of the inmates – Barney and Teletubies are way to advance.

  • Sage

    Amazing. With all the “let’s do this to them” in this thread, remember that most of these people are going to someday be released. If you want an angry, hopeless individual living near you, just keep treating them like they’re being held for torture. Not everyone in jail is there for something heinous. Most of them are there as a result of the wonderous war on drugs. They aren’t all destitute, but whatever makes you feel a part of the mob responsible for their pain.

    • stupid sage

      I dont live in the city so they wont be near me ! stop being stupid and move out of that Terrible stink hole of city !

  • KR


  • disgusted

    My mother recently passed away, she worked minimum wage jobs all her life. She NEVER could have afforded the luxury of of a 40″ flat screen tv. Yes the inmates should beTOTALLY self supporting if it were up to me, not supported by the hardworking taxpayers like my mother.

  • jr

    dont you get iit jails are money making businesses

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