WCBS 880: State Senator Opposes Closure Of Chelsea Prison

March 05, 2013

March 5, 2013 : Reporter Pete Haskill

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - New York State is planning to close a prison in a pricey Manhattan neighborhood and one local politician is against the move.

In a neighborhood of luxury apartments and high end galleries, it’s almost as if the Bayview Correctional Facility is hiding in plain sight. 

But there it is at 550 West 20th Street in Chelsea.

“This prison has a low profile in the neighborhood, which speaks to its success,”

St. Sen. Brad Hoylman told WCBS 880 reporter Peter Haskell. “I’ve never heard of any constituent complaints about the facility at all.”

He wants the building across from the Chelsea Piers entertainment complex to remain a prison.“The prison has a successful work release program,” he said.

Hoylman said that means it’s good for inmates.

Despite the state’s financialneeds, he doesn’t want it sold to a developer and feels it should be kept for a public purpose.

“When you have a statebudget of $140 billion, really we’re talking about a drop in the bucket,” he said.

According to a report, the cost at Bayview is $74,385 annually per inmate, quite a bit higher than the state’s benchmark of roughly $34,000.

Bayview has, however, been empty since Sandy, with all 153 inmates moved to three upstate facilities.