Press-Republican

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March 15, 2014

Fight goes on to keep local prison open

CHATEAUGAY — An Albany rally is over, but local lawmakers and supporters have not ended their quest to keep Chateaugay Correctional Facility open past July.

The medium-security prison that houses repeat parole violators and employs 111 security and civilian staff is one of four sites targeted for closure July 26 under a plan by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The rally, organized by the New York State Correctional Offices and Police Benevolent Association, brought as many as 1,000 people together at the State Capitol to urge Senate and Assembly leaders to spare the jeopardized prisons.

Franklin County Legislature Chairman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay), who is a correction officer and former Chateaugay mayor, said he got a lot of positive feedback from the senators and Assembly members he spoke with, including Republican leaders who said they would propose a bill during budget negotiations to stop the pending closures.

“They will put it up, and we’ll see where it goes, but either way, we will keep the fight up,” he said.

JOB LOSS

The local delegation, Jones said, was “really upbeat. They told us they would do what they can to put it right and keep Chateaugay open, so I think it was positive.”

He said that before the state budget is passed this spring, the Chateaugay community may hold another rally of its own, as it did in October, to try at least once more to convince officials to walk away from the governor’s closure plans.

Assemblywoman Janet Duprey (R-Peru) spoke at the event in Albany and said she fears a domino effect if Chateaugay is closed.

“There will be an immediate loss of 111 jobs in this small town and the very real potential for further loss of jobs or closures of some businesses,” she told the crowd, adding that protection of employees is also paramount.

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