Albany, N.Y. – Governor Cuomo aims to close as many as three correctional facilities in the state, citing a decline in the number of incarcerations. But it’s a proposal with which some in law enforcement are not happy.
In a statement Friday, Cuomo’s office said the number of people incarcerated has declined by about 10,000 since he took office. Cuomo says this coincides with a drop in reported crime throughout the state.
Under the governor’s proposal, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision would select the targeted prisons and have them stop operations by September 1.
"In my first State of the State address eight years ago, I said prisons are not a jobs program,” the governor said in a statement Friday. “Since then, I am proud to have closed more prisons than any governor in history and at the same time proved that New York can remain the safest large state in the nation. But we must do more. These new closures are another step toward reversing the era of mass incarceration and recognizing that there are more effective alternatives to lengthy imprisonment."
It is not known which prisons would be closed.
The proposal is being criticized by the Correctional Officers Union, which says violence within the state’s correctional facilities is already at a “historic high” and that closing prisons would simply cause more issues.
“The Administration will inevitably attribute closures to the number of open beds in the corrections system, but that’s a misleading argument to say the least,” organization head Michael Powers said in a statement. “Here is the real story. The State continues the dangerous, archaic and borderline cruel practice of double bunking. If the State simply agreed to stop cramming incarcerated individuals together into double bunks like sardines, the number of open beds in the system would diminish substantially. Our officers and advocates for incarcerated persons agree: the State needs to end the inhumane practice of double bunking immediately.”
Cuomo says, during his time in office, 24 prisons and juvenile detention centers have closed statewide.