Press-Republican

Local News

August 2, 2013

County takes stand against prison closure

MALONE — Franklin County officials are optimistic they can convince Gov. Andrew Cuomo to change his mind about closing Chateaugay Correctional Facility next year.

Chateaugay was one of four state prisons tapped for closure in an announcement last week with the idea of saving New York taxpayers more than $30 million through the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

The others are Monterey Shock in Schuyler County, Butler Correctional Facility in Wayne County and Mt. McGregor Correctional Facility in Saratoga County.

Chateaugay houses 234 inmates, who are all parole violators with short terms to serve.

The facility, which was opened in 1990, employs 111 staff members.

The state said no one will lose their jobs since they can be absorbed into the staff at other area prisons.

RELATED JOB LOSSES

But legislators say it is the impact to the Chateaugay community itself and northern Franklin County that is prompting the effort to preserve the prison, especially since the region has already lost Camp Gabriels in 2009 and Lyon Mountain Correctional in 2011.

“We’re going to get a team together, and we are confident we can put together a proposal to show what a value the facility is to the community,” said Legislature Chairman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay), who is also a correction officer.

“They say no job losses, but 111 people won’t be shopping at Stewart’s or the IGA or Price Chopper in Malone or other convenience stores,” he said.

SAVINGS AHEAD

The Enbridge-St. Lawrence Gas pipeline under construction now in the western part of the county will include the prison next year, which, Jones said, will create a huge savings for the state operation.

And it is that kind of cost savings and efficiency that will be stressed, along with its unique mission of housing the parolees, which “is important to New York state,” he said.

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