MORIAH — Prison staffs in Lyon Mountain and Moriah were shocked Tuesday to learn their facilities are now slated to close.
As part of sweeping budget cuts announced by Gov. David Paterson, Lyon Mountain Correctional Facility in Clinton County is expected to close January 2011, with Moriah Shock Incarceration Facility in Essex County to follow in April 2011.
They are two of four facilities now scheduled to close, affecting 57,600 inmates.
State officials say the cuts are being made to further consolidation efforts and eliminate excess capacity.
The closures are expected to reduce staffing by 637 positions, including 17 in managerial staff, mostly through attrition.
The other facilities affected are Butler Correctional Facility in Wayne County and Ogdensburg Correctional Facility in St. Lawrence County.
The cuts are expected to save $14.1 million during the next five years by also eliminating capital-construction projects.
Department of Correctional Services officials said the savings will help cover the costs of enhanced mental-health and sex-offender programs.
Assemblywoman Janet Duprey (R-Peru) spoke with staff at Lyon Mountain Tuesday morning after hearing the news.
"Certainly we're concerned," she said. "It's never good when we see a facility close. On the other hand ... I'm positive each of the corrections staff, and hopefully most of the civilians, will be able to transfer to other facilities.
"Certainly the focus of the Department of Corrections has been, and I expect will continue to be, not having anyone lose their job."
She called the closure a "certain blow to the small hamlet of Lyon Mountain and Town of Dannemora," which, she noted, is still recovering from the devastating New Year's Day fire that destroyed the town's Highway Garage.
The prison is housed in the former Lyon Mountain school building, and Duprey expects there will be a challenge "getting something (else) viable in that building."