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.

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“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.

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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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