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March 21, 2013

Assembly targets Chateaugay prison

Others set for closure; counter proposal suggests local facility

CHATEAUGAY — Chateaugay Correctional Facility may be in danger of closing under a proposal included in the State Assembly’s 2013-14 budget plan.

In his executive budget, Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed closing Bayview Correctional Facility in Manhattan and Beacon Correctional Facility in Dutchess County.

But a later proposal from the Assembly put Chateaugay on the list and spared one of the governor’s targeted facilities, said Franklin County Legislature Chairman Billy Jones, who is also a correction officer.

“I don’t really want to say, but obviously, there’s politics involved,” Jones said, “and there are a lot more Assembly members from downstate than there are up here.”

’DEVASTATING’

Legislators have prepared a resolution opposing Chateaugay’s closure and are expected to discuss it at their regular meeting today, beginning at 9 a.m. in the Legislative Chamber of the County Courthouse.

Assemblywoman Janet Duprey (R-Peru) was in session in Albany and unavailable for comment Wednesday afternoon. 

The Chateaugay facility, which was built in 1990, employs 114 people and was converted about 3½ years ago from its original purpose as an alcohol- and substance-abuse treatment center to a facility to house parole violators.

Jones, a Democrat from Chateaugay and at one time the village’s mayor, said he’s been in contact with the offices of both Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury) and Duprey for support.

He said closure of Chateaugay Correctional “would be devastating to Chateaugay and Franklin County. We do not want to see it go.

“We’re going to do everything we can to protect it and make sure that doesn’t happen.

“We have faith in our state representatives and hope for the best. When negotiations are going on, anything can happen, but we are confident Chateaugay will remain open.”

NEEDS LEGISLATURE OK

The governor said he wanted to close the two prisons he designated within 60 days but needs the approval of the State Legislature to shutter them with less than a year’s notice to the impacted communities.

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