Hawley supports effort to add 100-plus corrections officers

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 June 2015 at 12:00 am

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley said he supports an effort to add 103 corrections officers to state prisons throughout the state.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last week that the state will hire the additional full-time correctional officers to bolster safety and security throughout the state’s network of correctional institutions. The governor made the announcement following a tour of Greene Correctional Facility in Coxsackie.

Orleans County has two state prisons: the Orleans Correctional Facility for men and the Albion Correctional Facility for women.

Cuomo made the push to add corrections officers while also trying to build support in the State Legislature for raising the age of criminal responsibility in New York.

New York State is one of only two states in the nation that automatically prosecute 16- and 17-year olds as adults. Currently in New York, youth are detained with the adult population in local jails while awaiting trial. If convicted as adults, these teenagers are then matriculated into the greater adult prison population.

Cuomo wants the Legislature to have 16- and 17-year olds be processed as juveniles for all crimes except for crimes of serious violence, and the governor wants all minors to have access to rehabilitation services.

Hawley issued a statement this afternoon saying he supports the additional corrections officers. Hawley didn’t say whether or not he supports Cuomo’s push to raise the age of criminal responsibility in New York.

Hawley, in his statement today, said the new corrections officers will help offset the recent increased violence in prisons related to changes in the Rockefeller Drug Laws and the infiltration of synthetic marijuana into facilities across the state.

Hawley said the added staff will improve the safety for members of the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association.

“New York State has several extremely dangerous maximum security prisons that need increased resources,” Hawley said. “On behalf of local NYSCOPBA chapters and members, I am pleased to hear that the state will be hiring over 100 new employees to protect our prisons and surrounding communities. The additional officers will be employed at prisons that completed a security staffing review for the 2014-15 fiscal year.

“Corrections officers have one of the most dangerous roles in law enforcement, but their success is paramount to keeping violent criminals behind bars and out of society. It is unfortunate that they are often put on the back burner to traditional police officers because they are just as crucial to society’s safety. I will continue to support NYSCOPBA and corrections officers across the state during my time in the Legislature.”