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Lemondes Blasts Governor’s Plan to Close State Prisons


Calling it “a slap in the face” to corrections officers, Assemblyman John Lemondes is blasting Governor Kathy Hochul’s plan to close up to five state prisons.

“The governor’s proposal is completely out of touch,” said Lemondes. “Prisons such as Auburn Correctional Facility are vital to public safety in our community and requiring these facilities to close within 90 days is a slap in the face to our hard-working correction officers.”

At a Wednesday press conference, Lemondes and other members of the Assembly Republican Conference called out the governor’s plan as dangerous. They claimed the closures would increase the incarcerated populations at the remaining prisons, thus fostering increased levels of violence which would put corrections officers at greater risk of attacks.

Aside from safety concerns, the proposal is seen as unfair to staff who would either have to uproot their families and move to another correctional facility or lose their jobs.

“I’ve heard the stories from officers and their families about how they are overworked and underappreciated. We need to make sure the staff at these prisons have the tools they need to do their jobs rather than throwing our hands up and shutting prisons down in the name of social justice,” Lemondes continued

Hochul’s proposal has also drawn the ire of NYSCOPBA, the union representing corrections officers, which shares the same concerns as the conference.

In her proposed budget, the governor hopes to include legislation that would allow for the closure of up to five correctional facilities after giving 90 days’ notice. She claims this will increase the operational efficiency of the state’s correctional system.

The budget does not detail which prisons could be closed.

Since 2011, New York has closed 24 correctional facilities. These include the Willard Drug Treatment Center in Seneca County and the Butler Correctional Facility in Wayne County.

Lemondes represents the 126th State Assembly District, which includes Auburn, home to the state’s oldest operating correctional facility.

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