Cuomo wants quicker process for closing New York prisons

Posted: Updated:

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is recommending a proposal that would give him the ability to close state prisons on a faster timeline.

The measure is included in Cuomo’s budget proposal, which was rolled out Tuesday. The proposal would allow the governor to close state prisons if he gives at least a 90-day notice to legislative leaders.

Current law requires the head of New York’s prison agency to give a year notice before closing a correctional facility, according to a memorandum in support of the proposal. It says the state’s prison population has fallen by thousands since late 1999 and more than a dozen facilities have closed since the early 2010s.


New York “must be able to act expeditiously to eliminate excess prison capacity in order to use scarce taxpayer dollars as efficiently and prudently as possible,” according to the document.

The correctional officers’ union criticized Cuomo’s budget and said past prison closures have forced the state’s “most dangerous criminals into close quarters with one another.”

“We will fight tirelessly for our members to preserve their livelihood and make sure our prison system is as safe as possible,” said Michael Powers, president of the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association, in a prepared statement.

If approved, the measure would be effective from April 2020 through March 2021.

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Ryan Tarinelli is a corps member for Report for America, a nonprofit organization that supports local news coverage in a partnership with The Associated Press for New York. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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