April 27, 2011

Workers await word on prison cuts

"Where will the ax fall? Mid-Orange Correctional Facility in Warwick? The state prison just outside Otisville? The medium-security site near the Ulster County hamlet of Wallkill?

Nearly two months after state lawmakers passed a belt-tightening budget, more than 2,800 prison employees working in this region are awaiting a lingering decision that could upend their lives: Which prisons will Gov. Andrew Cuomo close to eliminate 3,700 prison beds statewide?

Cuomo's spending plan demanded prison space be reduced by that amount — in response to declining inmate numbers — but let the governor decide afterward which of the state's 67 prisons to close... ...

... ...The job uncertainty affects about 2,800 of the region's nearly 5,000 prison employees because the four maximum-security facilities are in no danger of closing.

The state plans to shut only medium- and minimum-security prisons, where inmate numbers have plunged because of lower crime levels and the softening of sentences for low-level drug offenders.

The targeted facilities are expected to close 60 days after employees are informed. State law normally requires that workers get a year's notice, but the budget shortened that period to save money this fiscal year."

Full story:
Workers await word on prison cuts: four maximum-security facilities are in no danger of closing. (Times Herald-Record, April 27 2011)