This article from the Albany Times Union, courtesy of the Real Cost of Prisons blog (the newest addition to the Juvienation blogroll), provides a partial answer to one of the week’s burning questions: How will New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s resignation affect Office of Children and Family Services Commissioner Gladys Carrion’s plan to shut down youth prisons upstate?
Spitzer’s Exit Means Hope for PrisonGovernor sought closure of Hudson site; Paterson seen as more receptiveBy BOB GARDINIER, Staff writerFirst published: Thursday, March 13, 2008
HUDSON — Opponents of Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s call earlier this year to close the Hudson Correctional Facility found a ray of hope Wednesday amid the scandal consuming the state Capitol. More than 100 prison guards, family, friends and supporters gathered on the lawn in front of the Columbia County Courthouse carrying signs and listening to speakers. The rally was held a couple of hours after Spitzer announced his resignation in the wake of a prostitution scandal. Lt. Gov. David Paterson will take over Monday.
“Mr. Paterson is a union person and he listens, so we now certainly have high hopes that this proposal could be turned around,” said Hudson Mayor Rick Scalera. “It may also put Senator Joseph Bruno into a position of more bargaining power and he has already spoken out against the closure.”
If the prison is closed as planned next January, 277 workers will either lose their jobs or have long commutes to jobs at other state prisons.
“My commute of 10 miles could turn into 60 miles one way,” said Brad Peck, a steward with the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association.
During his budget announcement in January, Spitzer said he would cut costs by closing one medium security prison (Hudson), three low-security “camps,” and six centers for troubled youths.
Along with the Hudson Correctional Facility, the much smaller Camp McGregor in Saratoga County is targeted for closing by January 2009.
The Hudson prison can house 422 inmates and currently has about 415, officials said.
“I worked in the prison for 29 years and the place is unique, with an enormous amount of interaction between inmates and staff, and there are very few assaults,” Scalera said.
If it closes, the city would also lose about $100,000 paid by the state for water and sewer services at the prison, Scalera said.