Senator Nozzolio and Assemblyman Robert Oaks Call on State to Re-Examine Decision to Close Butler Minimum Correctional Facility

Michael F. Nozzolio

April 27, 2009

Albany- Senator Michael F. Nozzolio and Assemblyman Robert C. Oaks are demanding that the Department of Corrections, the Attorney General’s office and the Comptroller's office reexamine Governor Paterson's proposal to close the Butler Minimum Security prison in Wayne County. The State Legislators are also calling for an investigation by the New York State Attorney General and Comptroller to determine if the appropriate legal process was applied for the proposed closure.

Senator Nozzolio and Assemblyman Oaks are strongly opposed to Governor Paterson's actions in closing a portion of the Butler Facility, and are protesting the Departments disregard for the law and failure to provide adequate notification to the employees of this facility, and the community of Butler and Eastern Wayne County.

"As the author of legislation that put protections for correctional employees and host communities into law, I was deeply troubled by the actions of Governor Paterson and the Department of Corrections . These actions to push through amendments to Section 79-a and 79-b, circumvent the legislative review process, and remove the appropriate oversight and the 12 month notification process meant to protect our state's corrections officers, and correctional employees," said Senator Nozzolio.

Our corrections officers walk the toughest beat in law enforcement and risk their lives each and every day to protect our safety and well being and keep our state's correctional facilities stable and under control.

"Governor Paterson's budget, which I strongly opposed, was passed by just 1 vote and potentially created the legislative loophole needed for the Governor to give the Department of Corrections unilateral control over which annexes, SHU's and camps would be closed. During the recent budget process, I put forth an amendment which would have would have kept the closure notification process and protections intact and forbidden the Corrections Department from closing facilities without adequate notice to employees and host communities," said Nozzolio.

The Butler Minimum Security Facility is not an annex and therefore should not be exempted from the law regarding legislative review, oversight and notification of closure. "We have, therefore called upon the Commissioner of Corrections, Brian Fisher; Attorney General Andrew Cuomo; and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to review the law to re-examine the recent decision by the Department of Corrections to close the Butler Minimum Security prison," concluded the State Legislators.