Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Rural New York prisons closing, too

Legal Ruralism has featured several posts in recent years about the closure of prisons in rural California and the implications for host communities.  Now North Country Public Radio (NPR) is reporting that some prisons in upstate, rural communities in New York state are also closing--and for some of the same reasons: declining rates of incarceration.  Here's an except from the story: 
Earlier this week, Governor Hochul released her proposal for the 2024-2025 budget. In it, she proposed closing up to five state correctional facilities.

Local North Country politicians on both sides of the political aisle have expressed dismay and frustration over the proposed closures.

Democratic Assemblyman Billy Jones told the Plattsburgh Press-Republican that he was “highly disappointed” by the governor’s decision to close more correctional facilities, and said the closures would not “mitigate the rise in crime or increase safety in prisons.”
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Jones also expressed concern about how closures could impact communities in the North Country “who support these correctional facilities and depend on them.” State prisons provide hundreds of good-paying jobs to North Country communities.

In his own statement, Republican State Senator Dan Stec echoed similar concerns. “I represent several correctional facilities and the men and women that work there,” said Stec. “Closing them [correctional facilities] would mean a loss of good-paying jobs and have a devastating effect on our community.

There are 44 prisons in New York. Eleven of them are in the North Country.

That’s a lot fewer than there used to be. Since 2009, the state has closed eight correctional facilities in the region.

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