Spitzer’s Fall = Prison’s Rise?

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 Prison
Governor sought closure of Hudson site; Paterson seen as more receptive
By BOB GARDINIER, Staff writer
First 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.

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One response to “Spitzer’s Fall = Prison’s Rise?

  1. I don’t get the whole closing of juvenile prisons anyway because I believe that many youths under 18 will be put in more harms way by being imprisoned with older ones. Not that I believe for one minute anyone really cares about what happens to anyone under 18 in jails and prisons never mind the adults. I struggle with the fact that now that Spitzer is gone, lock em up and throw away the key, is going to be the motto again(not that it ever really stopped) but for awhile I thought maybe good programs and rehabilitation would come back to play. Changing people for the better shouldn’t be about a commute or jobs it should be how are we going to stop the prison cycle. Then again in my mind, I don’t think many are interested in helping anyone be better citizens, if we really rehabilitated some people then more prison jobs would be lost. It has become an industry to throw away societys unwanted.

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