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NYS Sen. Patty Ritchie at Fort Drum Day gathering. Source: Ritchie website
NYS Sen. Patty Ritchie at Fort Drum Day gathering. Source: Ritchie website

Ritchie wants to ease costs, crowding in county jails

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State Senator Patty Ritchie has an idea to help ease overcrowding and costs at county jails.

As WRVO's Catherine Loper reports, the issue pits New York State against local governments.

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Catherine Loper
news director, WRVO

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Patty Ritchie says that county jails are footing the bill for the cost of housing state parole violators in their facilities while they wait for the state to pick them up. According to the senator, that costs county taxpayers anywhere from $90 to $130 a day per prisoner. She says that can add up to as much as $2 million in a year for the three counties she represents:  Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence.

The senator proposed a solution: house these state parole violators in the state facility known as Dry Hill in Watertown. Ritchie says the medium-security prison has room because it recently closed a dormitory.

“This is an opportunity for the state to actually do something about the costs for county governments and provide critically needed mandate relief by housing those state-ready inmates in the Watertown correctional facility freeing up spots in the local jails,” Ritchie said.

Ritchie also proposed legislation last session which would require the state to pick up its parole violators within ten business days. That legislation passed the senate and died in the Assembly.

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