Governor Hochul proposes possible prison closures

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)—The governor has proposed advancing legislation to allow the state to close up to five prisons following ninety days notice, to make the correctional system more efficient.

Assembly Republicans say if closures happen, it will negatively impact employees and their families.

“Ninety days to uproot your family, to find a new home, and new schools for your kids, that is unacceptable,” said Assembly Republican Phil Palmesano. “That is a big challenge and harmful and an insult to these brave men and women who work this dangerous job to keep us safe.”

The Department of Corrections and Supervision, known as DOCCS, said the facilities have not yet been identified.

According to information by the department, since 1999, New York’s prison population has decreased by 54.9%. Since 2011, more than 13,000 prison beds have been eliminated and a total of 24 correctional facilities closed due to excess bed capacity. The state is saving approximately $442 Million dollars per year.

Randi DiAntonio, Vice President of New York State Public Employees Federation, said fast tracking closures hurts not only staff, but the incarcerated population.

“DOCCS testified just days ago that the current staffing levels and excess capacity are factors in proposing the closure of up to five prisons,” said DiAntonio. “Folks, staffing is a problem in every agency across the state. Instead of proposing closures, why don’t we find ways to bolster recruitment and retention?”

According to DOCCS, it has enough vacancies to absorb any staff impacted by closures and no layoffs are anticipated.

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