Governor Cuomo announced today the shuttering of three correctional facilities across New York State; Watertown Correctional in Jefferson County, Gowanda Correctional in Erie County, and Clinton Annex in Clinton County. State officials did clarify that Clinton Correctional, also located in Clinton County, will not be closing.
NYSCOPBA (New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association) President Mike Powers told Channel 7 News, “Just the mere fact that they did this three days before Christmas is just disingenuous and inconsiderate. To me, it’s in bad taste and I think it’s shortsighted.”
Governor Cuomo is granted the power to close prisons with 90-day notice from a provision within the state budget.
The State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision said New York’s 52 correctional facilities were all reviewed before a decision was made.
According to DOCCS spokesperson, Thomas Mailey, current inmates at closing facilities will be transferred to other prisons. He remarked, “With the closure of these two facilities and the Clinton-Annex, we will be able to absorb the incarcerated population into vacant beds available at other institutions.”
Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt (R) was vocal in his condemnation of the state’s decision:
“The closure of these three corrections facilities will make our state less safe and devastate the communities where these facilities are located. I urge Governor Cuomo to stand up for Upstate communities and the men and women who serve them by immediately reversing this decision.
“We thank the brave men and women who showed up every day to ensure the protection of New York’s residents – you deserve better.”