Legislature Rejects Prison Closure Commission Proposal

George Winner

April 03, 2007

Albany, N.Y.--TheLegislature has agreed in the 2007-08 state budgetto reject Governor Eliot Spitzer’s proposal to establish a Commission on Prison Capacity.

"There’s absolutely no need to establish a new layer of bureaucracy to study prison closures in New York State," said State Senator George H. Winner, Jr. (R-C, Elmira),a member of the Senate Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections Committee. "Prisons are state-run facilities and if Governor Spitzer wants to study closing any of them, he’s free to do that on his own. There’s no need to change the process."

Spitzer’s 2007-08 state budget proposal, released in late January, called for the creation of a Commission on Prison Capacity, similar to the State Commission on Health Care Facilities for the 21st Century, commonly known as the Berger Commission. The Commission on Prison Capacity could have recommend closing correctional facilities, withthe recommendationsbecoming law unless the Legislature voted to reject them.

"We don’t need a Berger-type commission to study prisons," Winner said.