Binsack out of prison, into 'corrections residency'
BELLEFONTE - Scott J. Binsack was released Monday from the State Correctional Institution-Rockview after spending six months there on charges he violated parole, said Sherry Tate, director of the Office of Policy, Legislative Affairs and Communications for the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole (PBPP).
Upon release, Binsack had to report to a community corrections residency to undergo mental health treatment, but Tate said the location of that facility and the amount of time he spends there is confidential due to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) regulations.
Those centers can be owned and operated by the state Department of Corrections or contracted to a private operator, Tate said. They are designed to help those who have been incarcerated adjust to life outside prison and to offer addiction and mental health treatment, and released prisoners usually spend no more than 90 days reporting to one of these centers, she said.
PBPP ruled following a violation hearing on Dec. 13 that Binsack must spend "six months of back time" in jail for three parole violations: leaving the district without permission, changing residence without permission and failing to report as instructed.
Binsack, a former Clarks Summit homebuilder, became a household name in the Shamokin area in a matter of months starting in August when he presented a $13 million investment plan to Shamokin City Council. When his criminal history dating to 1999 from New York state and Lackawanna and Monroe counties became public knowledge locally, his involvement in the financial undertaking, which centered on renovation and construction of local homes and businesses, drew the attention of Pennsylvania securities officials. Binsack has faced charges over the years including bad checks, harassment, insurance fraud and theft.
He went on the offensive and took the fight to the Internet. On Facebook and YouTube, Binsack and business associate Steven Crone created what they called America's hottest new reality show - "Something's Smokin' in Shamokin" - where they used the World Wide Web as their soapbox, promising to expose corruption in Shamokin.
In late October, Binsack failed to show for a scheduled meeting with a PBPP hearing officer and fled the state. Binsack, who continued to post taunting messages to law enforcement on the Internet while on the lam, was considered a parole absconder for a month before he was found Nov. 20 by U.S. Marshals in a motel room in Bath, N.Y., a location he called "Narnia" in his online posts.
On the day he was captured in New York, Binsack's attorney filed a civil lawsuit on his behalf against six Shamokin officials, including two councilmen and the police chief, and two PBPP employees, claiming his constitutional rights to free speech, assembly, due process and liberty had been violated, that his ability to develop real estate opportunities was "seriously damaged," that his "good name, reputation, honor and integrity" were injured, and that he has suffered emotional distress.
The defendants have all asked the court to dismiss the suit, and Binsack's lawyer sought and was given the court's permission to withdraw from the case.
Binsack asked a federal judge in April for a temporary stay in the lawsuit because he said he was unable to access his evidence while in jail.