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Cuomo would be allowed to close more prisons under budget proposal

Updated: Apr. 5, 2021 at 5:07 PM EDT
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ALBANY, N.Y. (WWNY) - There’s no state budget yet, but we have learned from a legislative source that there is language in the spending plan that would allow Governor Cuomo to close more state prisons.

This comes after Cuomo closed 3 facilities in the last budget cycle, including the Watertown Correctional Facility.

The language in the proposed state budget would give the governor the ability to close as many facilities that “he determines to be necessary for the cost-effective and efficient operation of the correctional system.”

The proposal also says the governor must provide at least 90 days notice prior to any such closures to the temporary president of the senate and the speaker of the assembly.

“Such notice shall include the list of facilities and the governor plans to close, the number of incarcerated individuals in said facilities, and the number of staff working in said facilities,” the proposal states.

We reached out to the union which represents corrections officers.

“He’s never had any conversation, his office and/or the Senate or the Assembly, have had conversations with us. It’s aggravating on our end when we’re constantly advocating for our members and beating that drum recognizing that they’re calling for additional closures. It feels that our concerns fall on deaf ears,” said Mike Powers, New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association president.

Powers says his biggest concern is the 90-day notice, which he says is not enough time for employees to relocate if a prison does close. He says he will be watching closely until the budget is officially passed.

7 News also reached out to the governor’s office for comment. We’ll update this story if we receive a response.

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