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News stories tagged with "prisons"

It would be devastating to our town and throughout Franklin County. It would have a ripple effect.

Updated: Will the new state budget whack a North Country prison?

Update 10 am: The state correctional facility in Chateaugay won't be closed under a budget deal being finalized in Albany. That's according to Dan Macentee, spokesman for state Senator Betty Little. Latest details of this breaking story.



It remains unclear this morning whether the budget deal now being finalized in Albany will affect a North Country prison.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders unveiled a broad outline of the spending plan last night, without offering specifics.

Democratic lawmakers in the state Senate and Assembly have proposed cutting funding for the state correctional facility in Chateaugay in northern Franklin County.

That differs from Cuomo's executive budget proposal, which targeted prisons in Manhattan and in Dutchess County.  Go to full article
U.S. Rep. Bill Owens.
U.S. Rep. Bill Owens.

Owens: most people will feel pain of sequester

North Country Congressman Bill Owens says the impact of cuts at the federal prison in Ray Brook is on his mind. He says officials there will have some discretion as far as where to cut. "I'm counting on management in those circumstances," says Owens, "to make sure that they do their furloughing in such a way that they do manage this for the safety of the officers and obviously the prisoners."

Owens held a telephone press conference yesterday afternoon to discuss the impacts of the across-the-board federal cuts known as the sequester. The Democrat says the standoff in Washington may only change if the public feels some pain.  Go to full article
Governor Nelson Rockefeller surprised his own staff with his dramatic shift on drug policy.
Governor Nelson Rockefeller surprised his own staff with his dramatic shift on drug policy.

How the Rockefeller drug laws changed America

Forty years ago this month, New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller launched his campaign for what came to be known as the Rockefeller drug laws.

Rockefeller demanded tough prison sentences, even for low-level drug dealers and addicts. It was an idea that quickly spread, influencing state and Federal law across the US.

In the decades since, the nation's prison population has grown seven-fold -- with more than two million men and women now behind bars.

Over the next year, North Country Public Radio will be looking at ways the Rockefeller laws changed America -- from their impact on race relations to the growth of a booming prison industry here in the North Country.

We're calling it the Prison Time Radio Project. We start our series by going back to the beginning, when Americans were demanding solutions to a heroin epidemic that was scarring urban neighborhoods.  Go to full article
Bayview in Manhattan is one of two correctional facilities slated to be closed in the new budget plan. Photo: Google Street View
Bayview in Manhattan is one of two correctional facilities slated to be closed in the new budget plan. Photo: Google Street View

Governor continues downsizing of state prison system

Governor Andrew Cuomo says New York's state prison system needs to shrink again. In his speech Tuesday, Cuomo unveiled plans to eliminate two downstate correctional facilities.

The move spares prisons and prison jobs here in the North Country, at least for the time being.

But the move comes as part of a continuing shift in the state's criminal justice policy that has meant new uncertainty for prison workers.  Go to full article

SOS gives prison system a pass

Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke only briefly about the state's correctional system during his speech yesterday. Last year, his administration mothballed seven prisons, none of them in the North Country. Cuomo called that an important accomplishment. "We closed 3800 prison beds," he said, "because we finally realized prison operation is not economic development."

But the governor didn't call for any further prisons to be closed. After the speech, state Senator Betty Little of Queensbury said she thinks further prisons closures are off the table for now. That's good news for North Country prison towns from Moriah to Ogdensburg that had faced calls for prison downsizing.  Go to full article
Sen. Little's district could be shaped heavily by inmate court fight
Sen. Little's district could be shaped heavily by inmate court fight

Judge to decide how inmates will shape North Country districts

Attorneys were in court this week in Albany, arguing a case that could dramatically reshape the way North Country legislative districts are redrawn. A new state law requires that inmates be counted in their home communities -- the places they last lived before being sent to prison.

But that would shift a lot of people back to downstate Democratic districts, stripping population from districts held by North Country lawmakers like Betty Little from Queensbury and Patty Ritchie from St. Lawrence County. Republicans are hoping to overturn the law and as Brian Mann reports, the case could be settled in the next two months.  Go to full article
Camp Gabriels has sat empty for two years (File photo)
Camp Gabriels has sat empty for two years (File photo)

Native American group wants to reinvent Camp Gabriels

Two years after New York State prison officials closed Camp Gabriels, a Mohawk writer and activist wants to reopen the Adirondack facility as an education center and accredited campus with ties to Syracuse University.

Doug George announced last week at a meeting in Ticonderoga that he is working with Native American leaders, state officials and with other educators to develop the program. He hopes to attract students interested in learning about Native culture, language and heritage.

As Brian Mann reports, the proposal has been on the drawing board for more than a year. But key questions remain.  Go to full article

NY senate GOP seems to reverse stance on inmate count in redistricting

Senate Republicans appear to be changing their minds about how they would like to count prison inmates when they redraw New York's new district lines. Karen DeWitt reports.  Go to full article
Comlinks food distribution warehouse in Malone
Comlinks food distribution warehouse in Malone

Food gleaning program returns to its roots

It's been a tough year for the community action agency Comlinks in Malone. It made headlines in February when the former Comlinks director was indicted for theft. And now, its program to distribute to food pantries and soup kitchens is facing steep budget cuts from the state.

This week, Comlinks announced it will need to cut services, and will no longer be making food deliveries west of Massena.

Julie Grant recently visited the Comlinks food distribution warehouse in Malone, and found that the organization is trying to get back to its roots.  Go to full article

Little: change in prisoner count could cut district numbers

New York lawmakers have begun the process of reshaping electoral districts following last year's census. Last week, a redistricting task force announced it would ignore a law requiring prison inmates to be counted at their last known address.

That angered civil rights advocates, who argue home districts deserve credit for the prisoners, for electoral representation as well as state aid and services that depend on population. But the change worries North Country representatives whose districts have long counted prisoners where they're incarcerated.

The law passed in 2010 when Democrats controlled both legislative houses and the governor's mansion. The measure has since been challenged in court by nine Republican state senators. Betty Little of Queensbury is a plaintiff in that lawsuit. She isn't commenting on the suit, but she told Chris Morris the loss to her district would be significant, 9,000 to 10,000 people.  Go to full article

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