In a statement, Rowe blamed Gov. Andrew Cuomo, saying he “has taken the Legislature out of a decision-making process in what is principally a budgetary action.
“More alarmingly,” he continued, “... the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision attempts to create the illusion that the state system is rife with empty beds, but this is only made possible by double-bunking inmates.
“... the state continues to warehouse inmates by double-bunking and maintaining crowded and understaffed facilities.”
The four closures would make 13 prisons shuttered under Cuomo’s tenure, along with two during the prior administration, Rowe said.
Also tapped to shut down are minimum security Monterey Shock in Schuyler County and Butler Correctional Facility in Wayne County and Mt. McGregor Correctional Facility in Saratoga County, both medium security.
The closure date for all four sites is July 26, 2014.
The DCCS release cited “a substantial reduction in the state crime rate and drug offenses, which has caused a shrinking inmate population and less of need to keep more prisons open.”
Randy Page, vice president representing the Northern Region of NYSCOPA, said he contacted Duprey and Little when the announcement was made Friday.
“It hasn’t got anything to do with the current state budget,” he said.
“What they gave today was a one-year closure notification under the one-year closure bill. The Assembly restored funding for Chateaugay in their budget, so he (Cuomo) gave them notice he is closing these four prisons in one year.”
‘TON OF BRICKS’
“Our legislators are certainly going to argue to put (the facilities) back in the budget,” Page said. “But under the law, they can put the money back in the budget, and (the governor) doesn’t have to use it.
“Gov. Cuomo is the one we have to convince. We adamantly oppose any closure of any facility.”