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News stories tagged with "prisons"

Under state law, prisoners are not residents of these Upstate counties.

Senators challenge inmate count

The North Country State Senators are suing to block a new law for redistricting this year. It would count prison inmates in the districts where their home residence is, not in the North Country town where they're held. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article
Last year, then state Sen. Darrel Aubertine spoke at a rally to save Ogdensburg Correctional (Photo: NYS Senate)
Last year, then state Sen. Darrel Aubertine spoke at a rally to save Ogdensburg Correctional (Photo: NYS Senate)

Ogdensburg waits to find out if state prisons will be spared

Governor Andrew Cuomo is preparing a final list of state correctional facilities that will close this year as part of his austerity spending plan.

That means prison towns here in the North Country are waiting on pins and needles, hoping their facilities aren't on the list.

Once the governor announces his decision, prisons could close within thirty days.

Brian Mann visited Ogdensburg. He found that people there are worried, but hopeful.  Go to full article
Governor Andrew Cuomo (Source:  NYS)
Governor Andrew Cuomo (Source: NYS)

North Country looks for state budget fallout

Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York lawmakers reached a budget agreement that closes a $10 billion deficit without raising taxes. Hundreds of millions of dollars will be cut from education, health care, senior programs, education and funding for state prisons.

Groups around the North Country are still scrambling to understand what the consequences will be in their communities. Tomorrow, Brian Mann reports from Ogdensburg on the impact corrections cutbacks could have on the prisons in this region. This morning, he talked with Martha Foley about the larger picture for the North Country.  Go to full article
The budget plan would give Dept. of Corrections "sole discretion" to choose which prisons might be closed or downsized

Cuomo wins authority to shrink prison system by 3,700 beds

It's still unclear how the state budget deal reached over the weekend in Albany will affect the North Country's prison industry. But it appears likely that at least one of the region's correctional facilities will be considered for closure. Governor Cuomo convinced lawmakers to eliminate 3,700 prison beds statewide.

If approved, the plan would give the Department of Correctional Services "sole discretion" to choose which prisons might be closed or downsized, according to a statement issued by Cuomo's office yesterday. The budget agreement requires the governor to "consult" with the legislature before making a final decision.

In an interview with the Watertown Daily Times, North Country Assemblywoman Addie Russell described the prison-cutting plan as "difficult to swallow." According to Russell, it's "likely" that the region will see one of its prisons close.

The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, is reporting that the prison cuts will be spread through Republican and Democratic districts. If so, that would be a victory for Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who has promised to protect jobs in upstate communities that rely on the prison industry.

Many Democrats and prison reform activists have pushed to close North Country prisons, which they say are too far from the families and communities of many offenders. This region has already seen two prisons close in recent years -- in Gabriels north of Saranac Lake and in Lyon Mountain, in Clinton County. The state corrections department has also threatened to close facilities in Moriah and Ogdensburg.  Go to full article
The plan could mothball as many as six minimum security prisons while also protecting upstate communities from job losses.

Republican Senate develops new prison closure plan

Republicans in the state Senate say they've developed their own plan for downsizing New York's prison system. Senate majority leader Dean Skelos says the plan could mothball as may as six minimum security prisons while also protecting upstate communities from job losses.

Skelos was scheduled to present the package to Governor Cuomo yesterday but he declined to release details. He did say that the plan would include cuts to prisons in New York City and would eliminate either five or six correctional facilities.

Governor Cuomo has asked the legislature to approve cutting roughly 3,500 prison beds in the system, without specifying which facilities would close. The state is also offering up to a $100 million to help prison towns recover if their facilities are closed.

Republicans worry that most of the closures could come in Upstate communities, including towns here in the North Country. According to the Politics On the Hudson Blog, Skelos said the Senate plan would target prisons for closure "in both Republican and Democrat districts."  Go to full article
We took the hit over the last two years, weve already closed prisons in upstate New York. And they create jobs.

Prison closures sticking point in budget talks

The state legislature is continuing conference committee meetings on the budget. But lawmakers say there are still some sticking points to reaching agreement by next week's deadline. Karen Dewitt reports.  Go to full article
Let's avoid a situation where its already a done deal and over with and the communities have no recourse.

Hearings begin on slashing prison budget

Lawmakers held their first hearing on the state prison budget yesterday in Albany. Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to shrink the state's prison system by 3,500 beds, closing up to 10 state prisons.

As Karen Dewitt reports, the hearing offered critics of the plan their first chance to push back against further downsizing.  Go to full article
NY correctional facilities in the North Country
NY correctional facilities in the North Country

Cuomo proposes closing as many as ten state prisons

As part of his plan to balance New York's budget over the long term, Governor Cuomo wants to close as many as ten prisons statewide.

He offered to compensate each community that loses a correctional facility with $10 million in redevelopment funds.

As Brian Mann reports, it's still unclear which prisons will close or how the North Country's prison industry could be affected.  Go to full article
Tower at Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora (Source:  Wikipedia)
Tower at Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora (Source: Wikipedia)

Does the North Country's prison industry have a future?

Tomorrow, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will unveil a plan to cut New York's budget deficit, which now stands at more than $11 billion. Cuomo's spending plan could hit nearly every part of the North Country's economy, from schools to hospitals. He's also considering massive layoffs, with as many as 10,000 jobs on the line statewide.

One state agency that could face the deepest cuts is the Department of Correctional Services. According to the New York Times, between six and ten prisons could be slated for closure. This morning, Brian Mann looks back at the changing debate over prisons and their role as an economic engine here in the North Country.  Go to full article
What to do with mothballed prisons? (File photo)
What to do with mothballed prisons? (File photo)

Town struggles with future of mothballed prison

The former Camp Gabriels prison north of Saranac Lake has sat empty for more than a year. When the state tried to auction the 92-acre property last year, there were no buyers.

Earlier this month, Brighton town supervisor John Quenell circulated a private letter suggesting that the community might consider taking ownership of the facility.

But at a packed town meeting last night, many local residents said the project would be too expensive. Brian Mann reports.  Go to full article

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