Governor forms Prison Redevelopment Commission to find uses for closed prisons

Posted 23 May 2022 at 9:35 pm

Press Release, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Office

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the launch of the Prison Redevelopment Commission focused on reimagining closed prisons for innovative redevelopment opportunities across New York State.

The fifteen-member panel, first announced as part of Governor Hochul’s 2022 State of the State address, is comprised of leading experts across real estate, community and economic development, criminal justice reform, and government. The panel will be led by Hope Knight, Commissioner, President and CEO of Empire State Development and Darren Walker, President at the Ford Foundation.

“As New York continues to move forward, we are looking at ways to revitalize our economy, including reimagining shuttered state prison properties as hubs of regional opportunity,” Governor Hochul said. “As I promised in my State of the State, I have created a commission of public and private sector leaders, as well as economic development experts from around the country, to best connect our industry and workforce goals with action plans that will both save taxpayer money and bring these buildings to new life as economic engines. Our ultimate goal is to put New Yorkers to work, and I am confident this newly formed Prison Redevelopment Commission will help create an action plan to do just that.”

The closures identified by Hochul last fall are in addition to the more than 20 that have been closed over the last 15 years. The closures provide an opportunity to transform these facilities in more creative and productive ways, paving the way for opportunities to spur investment and job creation.

The commission includes leadership from State agencies as well as foundations, regional leaders and stakeholders, and economic development experts who will be focused on developing an action plan to turn empty prisons, many of which were job centers in their rural communities, into opportunities for communities to thrive. The commission’s first meeting was held today.

The members of the Commission are:

  • Anthony Annucci, Acting Commissioner, New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
  • Erik Kulleseid, Commissioner, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
  • Jeanette Moy, Commissioner, Office of General Services
  • Robert Mujica, Director, New York State Division of Budget
  • Roberta Reardon, Commissioner, New York State Department of Labor
  • Steve Acquario, Executive Director, New York State Association of Counties
  • Deborah Berke, Founding Partner, Deborah Berke Partners
  • Heather Briccetti, President and CEO, The Business Council of New York State
  • Jeff Buell, Principal, Redburn Development
  • David Buicko, President and CEO, Galesi Group
  • Penny Hill, Dean for Economic Development and Workforce Initiatives, Hudson Valley Community College
  • Christa Hines, Executive Director, Hudson River Housing
  • Stanley Richards, Deputy CEO, Fortune Society
  • Ryan Silva, Executive Director, New York State Economic Development Council
  • Deanna Van Buren, Founder, Designing Justice and Designing Spaces

“Closing prisons is critical to address the blight of mass incarceration, but it can’t end there — to achieve justice for all, we must turn every stone and explore prison redevelopment opportunities that ensure individuals and communities have the economic opportunities needed to thrive,” said Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation. “I am honored to join Governor Hochul’s prison redevelopment commission to position New York as a leader in reducing prison populations and improving the well-being of communities, towards safety, opportunity and justice for all.”