State aid for prison towns could prompt NY to close prisons, causing economic harm

Posted 20 October 2014 at 12:00 am


The two corrections facilities in Albion are about as far from New York City as you can get; Westfield is farther. There is nothing the Assembly leadership would like to do more than close down the Albion facilities so New York City families would not have to travel so far to see their inmate relatives and friends.

Closing Albion is on the legislative docket almost every year. If the Democrat state leadership had its way, Albion would be closed (again), this time for good.

That’s why I was so puzzled at the suggestion that the Village of Albion should receive a buck a day for each prisoner housed at the two facilities. (“Candidates don’t have much to say about Orleans County, rural NY,” published Oct. 20, 2014)

Does the writer know the economic impact the prisons have on the area? Does he know the dollar value of the local salaries paid to officers and staff at the facilities? How about the money they spend in the community? How about the local merchants who do business with the prisons? How many years would it take to recover if the Albion facilities closed? Ask Assemblyman Hawley how he spells disaster.

Maybe the editor could write a letter to Sheldon Silver and ask him to close the prisons. The Albion sites already are not eyed well in Albany. The ill-advised suggestion that the community isn’t getting enough bucks from Albany could put the padlocks on the gates.

Ralph E. Smith