New warden named for Centre County Correctional Facility

The Centre County Prison Board has named a new warden for the Centre County Correctional Facility after the position was vacant for almost eight months.

Christopher Schell, who was hired by the board in November as deputy warden of administration, has been promoted to warden.

“With over a quarter century of corrections experience, Chris can deliver security for staff and the community, but he balances it perfectly with the rehabilitation needs for inmates as they prepare for reentry into society,” Michael Pipe, chairman of the board of commissioners said.

Prior to coming to Centre County, Schell was a captain and a Prison Rape Elimination Act investigator at the York County Prison for more than 20 years.

During his first six months at CCCF, Schell helped to implement WorkKeys, a computer-based assessment and education program that prepares inmates for re-entry into the workforce after they are released.

“My philosophy is to come to work and make a difference,” Schell said. “From my first day, I have attempted to inspire staff to have the mindset of forward-thinking and not to relive the past but respect it and move forward.”

Schell takes over for former county administrator Denise Elbell, who was appointed by the prison board as acting warden after the board terminated Rick Smith in September.

Leon Valsechi: 814-231-4631, @leon_valsechi