January 23, 2013

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Governor’s proposed budget would close Beacon prison

ALBANY – Governor Cuomo’s $137 billion, 2013-2014 state budget calls for the closure of the Beacon Correctional Facility as a way to save money. That coupled with a proposal to close Bayview in Manhattan would reduce bed capacity by over 432 and save $18.7 million in 2013-2014 and $62.1 million in 2014-2015. Cuomo said closing those facilities would impact 273 workers, but they could all be absorbed in the current system.

State Assemblyman Frank Skartados (D- Milton) said he is concerned about the impact that the proposed closure of Beacon Correctional Facility would have on the employees and the Beacon economy. “I look forward to working with the governor to produce another on-time budget that will help grow our local economy, but with the information I have now, I intend to oppose the closure of the Beacon Correctional Facility,” Skartados said.

State Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R- Fishkill) said he would review the proposal.

Lalor said he would support the closure of the Beacon prison only if it could be proven that occupancy is so low that it is too costly to operate. But, before he would take a position on the closure, he wants to analyze all the details.

Assemblyman Kevin Cahill (D- Kingston) also has concerns about it.

The proposed closure of the Beacon prison would be in addition to closure of Division for Youth facilities in Red Hook and Middletown. Assemblyman Kevin Cahill (D-Kingston) said they are “significant parts of the local economy, but also places that provide a secure facility or near-security facility for people who otherwise might be a danger to society.” Cahill said as long as the safety of the public could be maintained without them, he would support closure; however, they should be the last facilities to be considered for closure because of their relative close proximity to New York City, where many of the incarcerated people are from.

Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro said he is concerned about how the closure of the Beacon and Red Hook facilities would impact local residents who work there, how their transitions would take place and how local communities would be impacted.

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