Recently, Governor Paterson proposed the closure or downsizing of seven correctional facilities in New York. Assemblyman Gary D. Finch (R,C,I – Springport), co-chairman of the Assembly Minority Statewide Forums on Workforce Issues in the Correctional System, has been working with his Assembly Minority colleagues to find ways to improve efficiency and safety in New York’s correctional system while preventing closures.
Finch has hosted nine forums throughout New York in order to meet with local officials and employees of correctional facilities. At those meetings, they have discussed ways to improve safety conditions for employees as well as the inmates, in addition to cost-cutting methods that would help prevent the closure of correctional facilities in New York.
According to Finch, correctional facilities in New York are already operating at 103% of capacity. The governor has proposed the closure or downsizing of seven facilities, which would only lead to increased over-crowding and more dangerous conditions for all inside of those facilities.
“In working with correction officers and civilian employees, we have received valuable input toward cutting costs and have heard a number of safety concerns from those working in correctional facilities,” said Finch. “Correction officers already work in a dangerous and stressful environment, and closing and consolidating facilities will only lead to worse conditions.”
In the governor’s proposal, Tryon and Lansing Youth Facilities are slated for downsizing, Annsville Youth, Moriah Shock, and Ogdensburg Medium Security for closure, in addition to the closure of the Minimum Security portion of Butler Correctional.
“We all have to make tough choices, but closing facilities will lead to dangerous conditions for correction officers and the inmates that they supervise,” Finch stated. “Instead of closures, we should be looking at ways to improve efficiency and safety.”