People petition to show support for Ogdensburg correctional facilities

People petition to show support for Ogdensburg correctional facilities

OGDENSBURG, N.Y. (WWNY) - People in Ogdensburg Saturday put pen to paper to show their support for the Ogdensburg and Riverview Correctional Facilities.

Patricia Shirley came from Massena just to sign the petition.

“My son works at one of the jails, and I have a lot of friends that do too,” said Shirley.

The state budget passed in April allows Governor Andrew Cuomo to close prisons with 90 days notice to the Assembly speaker and Senate leader.

Deputy Mayor John Rishe says there's no indication the two Ogdensburg prisons are targeted for closure.

“We wanted to be proactive and get out there, and express our concerns as best we could," said Rishe.

Those concerns stem around Ogdensburg's economy.

“We consistently have high poverty and unemployment rates, one of the highest in New York state. And certainly a closure here would have much more of a devastating impact," said Rishe.

Dean Hebert has lived in Ogdensburg most of his life.

He says having the prisons means having jobs.

“It keeps the employment, keeps people working,” said Hebert, who signed the petition.

And more money circulating in the city.

“They’re working, and they’re spending money, and they’d all be moved away if they close I believe," said Hebert.

Rishe says they’re not looking for a specific number of signatures. Their goal is to show the state how much the city supports keeping the prisons.

“We’re hoping to get as many as we can, and we’ll probably have other opportunities for people to sign it as well, not just today," said Rishe.

For Shirley, losing either prison isn't an option.

"Just one would be devastating,” said Shirley.

Rishe says he plans to send the petitions to the Governor's office by the end of the month.

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