New York State
Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor
Anthony J. Annucci, Acting Commissioner
For immediate release:
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS DETAILS THE STATE'S PLAN TO RIGHT-SIZE THE NEW YORK'S PRISON SYSTEM
New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) Acting Commissioner Anthony J. Annucci today detailed the need for right sizing the state’s prison system. New York State is safer, crime is down 13 percent and as inmate populations decline, closing half-empty prisons will result in savings of $30 million for taxpayers.
“As the inmate population has continued to decline, prisons that are no longer needed can close,” said Commissioner Annucci. “By pursuing policies that are tough, smart and fair, we can maintain or improve public safety on the outside, so there is less need to put offenders on the inside, delivering great savings to New York taxpayers. This savings can be better spent to prevent recidivism and keep all New Yorkers safe."
The overall criminal justice picture in New York State has changed dramatically
over the last ten years. Today New York is the safest large state in the
country. In the last decade, the crime rate has dropped 13 percent in New
York, which has caused the inmate population to decline about 25 percent,
from an all-time high of 71,600 in 1999, to approximately 54,200 today.
One of the more compelling changes in the inmate demographics is the number of incarcerated drug offenders. In 1996 there were 24,000 drug offenders in New York State prisons. At the end of 2013 there were less than 6,700.
The changes in crime rates and the drastic 72 percent decline in incarcerated drug offenders impelled the Commissioner to recommend the four facilities as an important part of the restructuring plan.Since 2011, the State has eliminated more than 5,500 prison beds through July 2014. The four facilities are Monterey Shock (Schuyler County), and three medium security facilities: Butler (Wayne County), Chateaugay (Franklin County) and Mt. McGregor (Saratoga County). There will also be a one-year notification procedures in the Correction Law, and making the closures effective July 26, 2014.
The one-year notification has allowed a gradual transition of staff from these four facilities to other prisons, other state agencies or retirement. At the time of the closure announcement, there were 673 employees at the four facilities. As of February 3, 2014, there were 386 staff remaining, and DOCCS Personnel have been holding another round of meetings with those staff members to assist in planning their transitions.
Nine other facilities had previously been part of DOCCS plan to right-size
the prison system and 97 percent of the staff impacted have successfully
transitioned to other facilities, state agencies or retirement. Governor
Cuomo is committed to addressing the economic concerns in the communities
impacted by this and has allocated $24 million in economic development money
as part of his executive budget to assist those regions.