Lawmakers weigh proposal to close several state prisons in budget talks

Originally published in News12 Long Island on .
Prison cell doors

Lawmakers' budget negotiations in Albany include discussions on the governor’s proposal to close several state prisons.

A representative for Gov. Kathy Hochul says the proposed budget includes "language" that would allow for the closure of up to five state prisons. They said which ones have not been decided on.

"If you ask the governor, and I don’t defend this, the argument is that is that the prison population has been declining over the past many years, and that there are more empty beds now than there have been in previous years, and thus their attempt to consolidate," says Sen. James Skoufis.

Skoufis says Otisville Correctional Facility in Orange County was once eyed for closure under the Cuomo administration.

He’s against closing Otisville.

“I have very serious concerns about, just in general, these prison closures and then more parochial here in Orange County, I have a very deep concern about Otisville. I’m pushing back hard on that,” Skoufis says.

The senator says Hochul’s proposal would only give state prison staff 90 days’ notice to relocate or find a different job before a prison closes, which he calls “borderline inhumane.”