2 prisons in Albion not among 6 that will be closed by state

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 November 2021 at 4:31 pm

State officials announced today that six prisons will be closing by March 2022, but none of those are in Albion, which has a women’s prison (Albion Correctional Facility) and a medium-security men’s prison (Orleans Correctional Facility).

The six prisons to close include Ogdensburg Correctional, Moriah Shock Incarceration Correctional, Willard Drug Treatment Campus, Southport Correctional, Downstate Correctional and Rochester Correctional.

State officials said the closings are expected to save $142 million, even though no layoffs are expected.

The announcement was condemned by Michael Powers, president of a union representing 21,000 members. The closings will lead to more crowding in prisons, putting corrections officers at risk, Powers said.

“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,” Powers said in a statement. “The State’s progressive polices 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?”

Powers said the closing of a prison will “upend lives and destroy communities” where the prisons are located.

“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,” he said.

State Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt also said the closings will make the state less safe from violent criminals.

He issued this statement: “Today’s announced closures of six state correctional facilities by Gov. Hochul is not only a devastating blow to our hardworking correctional workers, but to communities across our state.

“Under the guise of ‘cost-saving measures,’ Democrats have opted to punish men and women who risk their health and safety to protect ours. Between a disturbing increase in attacks and lack of state investment in these facilities, prison staff have been expected to put their health and safety on the line every day. Instead of thanking these public servants, progressive Democrats are jeopardizing their very livelihood.

“Albany politicians refuse to learn from their mistakes or comprehend basic cause-and-effect. They continue to prioritize measures like bail reform, ‘Less is More,’ and other pro-criminal policies that have put more criminals back on the street. Now, more than ever, we must stop rewarding convicted felons and punishing law-abiding New Yorkers and our law enforcement community.

As always, my Senate Republican Conference colleagues and I stand firmly behind our corrections officers. We remain committed to common sense criminal justice policies that protect our families, neighborhoods and law enforcement, not violent felons and career criminals.”