An agreement on a state budget bill will give Gov. Andrew Cuomo authority to close two state prisons in the 2019-20 fiscal year.
The Public Protection and General Government budget bill released Thursday night contains the provision related to prison closures. It’s an amended version of Cuomo’s proposal, which called for closing up to three state prisons.
The bill allows Cuomo to close two correctional facilities “as he determines to be necessary for the cost-effective and efficient operation of the correctional system.” Before any closures, he must provide at least 90 days notice to state legislative leaders.
Cuomo continued to push for prison closures despite opposition from the state Legislature. One-house budget resolutions approved by the state Assembly and Senate rejected Cuomo’s proposal.
The governor’s plan would require the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to conduct a review of its 54 correctional facilities. DOCCS would consider several factors, including facility security level, infrastructure, programs available for inmates and potential reuse.
When Cuomo proposed closing up to three state prisons, the Division of Budget estimated it would eliminate at least 1,200 beds and save the state at least $35 million.