Trouble in Albany

No, not the Spitzer thing–although perhaps it’s related; I still don’t know. Read this urgent message from Mishi Faruqee, who directs the New York Juvenile Justice Coalition:

Dear Friends:

As you know, the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) has proposed closing six youth prisons as part of a larger effort to reform our state’s troubled juvenile justice system. Yesterday, the NYS Senate released their budget bill that puts back funding for three of the upstate facilities: Auburn, Brace and Great Valley. The Senate’s attempt to keep these upstate facilities open is particularly outrageous given that these facilities are virtually empty. Currently, there are NO children in Auburn and only 3 children at Brace (both are 25 bed facilities). Great Valley has only 11 children. The cost to operate one bed in one of these facilities is $140,000 to $200,000.

In addition to attempting to keep these empty facilities open, the Senate wants to change the law so that OCFS will have to give two years notification – instead of the current one year – before the state can close a youth facility.

Please call your state Assembly Member and Senator to tell him or her that we will not accept the Senate’s plan to fund empty youth prisons.

Please tell your representative in Albany:

* Given the state’s $4.5 billion budget deficit, it is unconscionable that the Senate wants to spend tax dollars to operate empty youth correctional facilities.
* The Assembly and Senate should close these three facilities and re-invest the cost savings in community-based programs that work with court-involved youth and their families.
* The state cannot sustain upstate jobs on the backs of New York’s City’s children.

Please call your Assembly member and Senator immediately. We must ensure that when the Legislature passes the State Budget there is no funding for empty youth prisons in the budget.

Please click here to find out who represents you in Albany and to get your representatives’ contact information:

http://www.cmap.nypirg.org/netmaps/MyGovernment/NYC/MyGovernmentNYC.asp

Please email me at mfaruqee@correctionalassociation.org after you contact your representatives so we can keep track of the calls made. Also, please join us in Albany on March 26th!

Thanks so much for your help and support!

Mishi

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