Cuomo administration calls today's Monterey Shock graduation ceremony the last, but O'Mara says local effort to save facility will continue (Updated, January 24)

Thomas F. O'Mara

January 23, 2014

Elmira, N.Y., January 23—Although the Cuomo administration continues to mark today’s graduation ceremony at the Monterey Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility as the last one before the administration shuts down  the facility later this year, State Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C-Big Flats) said today that the local, grassroots effort to convince the governor to reverse the decision will continue. 

"This may be Monterey’s last graduating class for the immediate future, but we’re far from shutting down our local, grassroots effort to convince Governor Cuomo that closing Monterey doesn’t make sense,” said O’Mara.  “I’m disappointed that the Cuomo administration still shows no sign of reversing its decision to close Monterey this year.  But this year’s budget adoption process is just beginning and I will be continuing to work to get the governor to reconsider the closure. I believe we've made a strong case for keeping the facility open and we’ll keep working to ensure that the governor hears us.   It's too important for the local economy, for regional community services and for the effectiveness of correctional services statewide.  We’re not giving up on saving Monterey for the long term."

[January 24th Update: see more in today's Corning LeaderStar-Gazette and The Odessa File of Schuyler County]    

O’Mara, area state Assemblymen Phil Palmesano and Chris Friend, Congressman Tom Reed and other local leaders across the region have joined together with Monterey staff, former inmates and their families and many concerned citizens to urge Cuomo to keep Monterey open since his administration announced its closure plan last July.

They continue to highlight the facility’s critical importance to the regional economy, especially at a time when so many communities have been hard hit by job losses.  They've stressed the cost effectiveness of Monterey, noting that the shock program has saved the state more than $1 billion through reduced incarceration times and low recidivism rates among shock graduates.  Additionally, numerous community leaders throughout Schuyler, Chemung, Steuben and Yates counties have stressed that Monterey inmate work crews have saved local communities and taxpayers millions of dollars over the years by assisting with community infrastructure and other cleanup and enhancement projects.

The Watkins Glen Chamber of Commerce has recently added to the grassroots Save Monterey Shock campaign by producing and releasing a video focusing on how Monterey has turned around the lives of so many former inmates and its importance to the regional economy and local communities.  

Read more in today's Star-Gazette, "Camp Monterey gets a boost from Watkins Chamber"

Watch the video HERE.

Sign an online petition to support Monterey HERE.