WARREN-State Senator Joe Scarnati of the 25th District expressed dismay that Jack Wisor and officials at the Just for Jesus homeless shelter outside of Brockway have chosen to intentionally violate a measure which was just recently passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Ed Rendell.
According to Scarnati, Act 95 of 2010 states that a group-based home like Just for Jesus, which agrees to provide housing to a convicted murderer, must notify the county and municipal governments in which the home is located that the individual is staying at the home, within 48 hours of his arrival. Upon notification, the county or municipal government may choose to hold a public hearing concerning the group-based home provider, its site and operation.
“The law is very clear and unmistakable, Scarnati said. “Without question, it was ignored by Mr. Wisor and his Just for Jesus group, as they continue to be a safety concern for many citizens in the Jefferson County area.”
Convicted murderer Ernie Simmons was recently released by Cambria County Judge Timothy P. Creany, after violating multiple terms of his probation, and ordered to return to the Just for Jesus homeless shelter. The Pennsylvania Board of Probation & Parole informed Scarnati’s office that Just for Jesus staff had picked up Mr. Simmons on Monday, November 22nd in order to return him to the shelter. However, according to officials in the Jefferson County Commissioners and Snyder Township Supervisors offices, as of Monday, November 29, neither had been notified of Mr. Simmons’ arrival at Just for Jesus, as required by law.
“What is most troubling about this situation is that Mr. Wisor was well aware of the recently passed law and simply chose to not abide by it, Scarnati stated. “In fact, shortly after the passage of the bill, Mr. Wisor told WTAJ-TV the following quote, ‘I’m glad that Senator Scarnati has put this bill in place, and I think it’s going to work great for communities and ministries such as Just for Jesus.'”
Scarnati added that he would urge the county and township officials to hold a public hearing in accordance with the new statute.