May 18, 2022

Why New York is closing 6 prisons

State officials said Monday that the state will work to “reuse” closed prisons, but did not provide details.

The closures come as the state’s prison population has fallen to 31,469, a 56% drop from a peak of 72,773 in 1999. The sharp decline is in part the result of the dismantling of the strict drug law 1970s and laws that allow early release. for non-violent offenders.

The six prisons that will close are well below their capacity: Together they can accommodate up to 3,253 people, but now house only 1,420, all of which will be transferred to other facilities before closing in March 2022 .

The move is expected to save taxpayers $ 142 million, officials said, adding that the closures would not result in layoffs. Instead, the state will work to move the roughly 1,700 workers employed in the six prisons to other facilities or agencies.

Michael Powers, president of the New York State Correctional Officers Police Benevolent Association, said the union opposed the closures, adding that the state was saving money while doing little to protect correctional officers who he said , had suffered an increase in violent attacks.

“Where is the reinvestment in the facilities to make these prisons safer working environments? Mr. Powers said. “At some point, the state must realize that these choices are more than buildings and tax saving measures, they are decisions that change lives and turn lives upside down and destroy communities.”

State officials chose the six prisons, most of which are in the north of the state, after analyzing factors such as their proximity to other facilities where staff members could be relocated and s’ they were in parts of the state where previous closures had already affected the local economy. Recent state legislation passed by Democrats was also taken into account.

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