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NYSCOPBA Reacts to Hochul’s Plan to Close 5 NY Prisons


Governor Hochul wants to close up to five correctional facilities in the state.

As part of her proposed budget for the 2025 fiscal year, the governor wants to include legislation that would allow the state to “act expeditiously to right-size and eliminate excess capacity by allowing for the closure of up to five correctional facilities with 90 days’ notice,” according to the budget briefing book. She believes this will increase the operational efficiency of the state’s correctional system.

The budget does not detail which prisons could be closed.

This announcement quickly drew the ire of the New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association (NYSCOPBA), the union representing correctional officers.

The union believes that the ensuing higher population density of incarcerated individuals coupled with rules put in place by the state’s HALT Act would make prisons more dangerous. It cites data provided by the state’s Department of Corrections and Community Supervision showing assaults on prison staff increased 13.4% in 2023. That same year saw assaults on fellow incarcerated individuals increase by 41.5%.

NYSCOPBA also believes the potential increased violence, workload, and need for certain staff to relocate, will result in burnout and resignation by employees.

“As the violence increases and staffing levels plummet, mandatory overtime for correction officers and sergeants has spiked to record highs. This overtime is well documented and it is unsustainable. Continuous mandates are straining members’ physical and mental health, their families, and their quality of life.  Members are burning out at alarming rates. How can the State of New York demand that our members continue working in these conditions and have the mental and physical ability to keep incarcerated individuals and staff safe? Members need relief.” – stated Chris Summers, NYSCOPBA President. 

The union wants to keep the prisons open so that the prison population can be spread out. It also wants to recruit more staff through salary upgrades and other financial incentives.

The state currently operates 44 prisons with the majority being in Upstate New York, including the oldest operating prison in the state – Auburn Correctional Facility. Since 2011, New York has closed 24 prisons, including the Willard Drug Treatment Prison in Seneca County and the Butler Correctional Facility in Wayne County.

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