Saland Fights To Keep Hudson Correctional Facility Open And Wins

Stephen M. Saland

March 31, 2008

At a rally held today on the Capitol steps in Albany, Senator Steve Saland (R,I,C Poughkeepsie) announced the Hudson Correctional Facility will remain open despite former Governor Spitzer’s decision to close this prison and three other correctional facilities.

"I am elated that we have come to an agreement to keep the Hudson Correctional Facility open," said Senator Saland. "The people of Hudson and Columbia County have been living a nightmare since former Governor Spitzer announced the decision to close the Facility in January. The prison is one of the largest employers in the area employing over 300 people. I have spoken to many correctional employees and the devastating impact this has had on their families and the social fabric of Hudson is incalculable. The decision of whether to try to find employment in another facility now and uproot their families to move outside the area or stay until closure to keep the facility safely running has weighed heavily on their minds."

"Governor Paterson, my former Senate colleague, has been far more approachable and willing to listen regarding this issue that his predecessor Governor Spitzer. Several days ago, I discussed with Governor Paterson the proposed closure, outlining for him the justifications for keeping the Hudson Correctional Facility open. The conversation was cordial and productive" Saland added.

"We fought tirelessly to keep these facilities open, and Senator Saland was instrumental in keeping the Hudson Correctional Facility open," New York State Correctional Officers Police Benevolent Association (NYSCOPBA) President Flanagan said. "We understand the state faces extremely trying times right now, but concocting a plan behind closed doors that haphazardly closes facilities was never the right thing to do. The smart decision was the right decision, and we thank Senator Saland for fighting on behalf of the men and women of NYSCOPBA."

"Senator Saland and I have been working tirelessly since the previous governor announced that the Hudson Correctional Facility and three other upstate prisons would be shut down. The Senator and I have repeatedly petitioned the Governor, met with state and local officials, organized forums, attended rallies as we fought tooth and nail to keep the facility open. We understood that the economic stability of Columbia County was at stake," said Assemblyman Marc Molinaro, R,I,C Tivoli.

Hudson Correctional Facility was one of four facilities slated for closure by the Spitzer administration in January, purportedly to save money due to the dwindling prison population. Hudson Correctional Facility, however, has been operating at or near full capacity. From the outset, Senator Saland challenged the reliability and accuracy of the data relied upon by the Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) to justify the decision to close the Hudson Correctional Facility. At a rally held at Columbia-Greene Community College and again the following day at a hearing in Albany in January, Senator Saland directly questioned DOCS Commissioner Brian Fischer who was less than forthcoming with answers about the closure.

"We have the answer now and that answer is a resounding ‘yes’ -- the Hudson Correctional Facility will remain open. I wish to thank Hudson Mayor Rick Scalera, the County Board of Supervisors and its leadership, and the hundreds of members of the NYSCOPBA, the Public Employees Federation (PEF) and the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) for helping to keep this issue on the front burner. We worked together and it worked well!" Saland concluded.