Press Release

Rockey says decision on new warden should rest with next County Executive, says we must ‘fix the broken jail’


August 8, 2023

PITTSBURGH – Joe Rockey, the Republican nominee for Allegheny County Executive, today issued the following statement on the surprise announcement that Jail Warden Orland Harper will retire on Sept. 29:

“Getting the jail in order was the top plank in my recently released public safety policy. It’s essential that we have the right people involved in both the search for a successor to Warden Harper and in setting jail policy going forward. This is the opportunity to get the right leadership to fix the broken jail.”

Rockey, who has been endorsed by the union representing the jail’s correctional officers, made improving jail conditions and operations the first plank in his five-part policy paper on public safety, released last week. He also won the endorsement of four police union locals. According to Rockey, the selection of a new warden “is a decision that should rest with the next County Executive and it should not take a full year as it did the last time.”

Rockey has indicated that he would seek advice from John Wetzel, the highly regarded former Secretary of Corrections under Govs. Tom Corbett and Tom Wolf in seeking a warden to replace Harper.