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Six state prisons across New York to close in March



New York – Next March six facilities, part of New York’s prison system will close.

State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision officials, announced Monday that the following facilities are scheduled for March 10, 2022 closure:

• Ogdensburg Correctional Facility

• Moriah Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility

• Willard Drug Treatment Campus

• Southport Correctional Facility

• Downstate Correctional Facility

• Rochester Correctional Facility

According to a spokesman, no layoffs are anticipated, and the cost-cutting through the closures is expected to save $142 million.

“DOCCS will work closely with the various bargaining units to provide staff with opportunities for priority placement via voluntary transfers, as well as priority employment at other facilities or other state agencies as a result of the formal Civil Service process that is followed with the closure of a correctional facility,” said spokesman Tom Mailey in a statement. “DOCCS does not anticipate any layoffs due to these closures.”

Before selecting the six that will close next year, state officials reviewed about 50 facilities for potential closure.

The closures are the latest in a line of prison facilities to be shuttered by New York in the last 10 years as the number of people in prison has steadily declined.

The number of New York’s incarcerated people stands at 31,469, which is the lowest number since 1984.

Last month Gov. Kathy Hochul acknowledged the economic toll taken by the prison closures, especially in upstate communities. She suggested her administration was reviewing whether to convert some of the facilities into substance abuse treatment centers.

According to the union that represents correctional officers, there is a need for safe prisons.

“If people have been paying attention to the past decade of poor decisions made by our elected leaders in Albany, today’s news shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone,” said NYSCOPBA President Michael Powers in a statement. “The State’s progressive policies are costly and need to be funded somehow. Sadly it’s at the expense of the hard-working men and women of NYSCOPBA. The numbers tell the real story; despite closing over two dozen facilities the past 10 years, violent attacks on our members have doubled and yet nothing is being done to address it. Where is the reinvestment in the facilities to make these prisons safer working environments? My heart goes out to all of the individuals whose lives have been severely impacted by this announcement and know that our organization will hold the department accountable every step of the way. At some point, the State needs to realize that these choices are more than just buildings and tax-saving measures, these are life-altering decisions that upend lives and destroy communities.”

According to Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, there has been no plan for that facility’s closing.

“Today’s announcement about the closure of the Downstate Correctional Facility has taken Dutchess County by surprise. There has been no coordination between the Governor’s Office and Dutchess County on the closure of this large facility, nor a coordinated plan for the future use of the parcel and the hundreds of workers who will be affected,” Molinaro said in a statement. “Make no mistake: Inmates at Downstate are not being released; they will simply be transferred to remaining State prisons or to county jails throughout New York. Today’s announcement only leaves Dutchess County with more questions than answers.”