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‘WE DON’T NEED AS MANY PRISONS’: Hochul eyes ‘scaling-down’ or closure of state correctional facilities

Prisons are not full enough. But that doesn’t mean Governor Kathy Hochul will be focusing on enforcement that could lead to more incarcerated New Yorkers.

Hochul, who succeeded Former Governor Andrew Cuomo after he resigned during late-summer, will continue the state’s effort of downsizing prisons.

She told reporters on Wednesday that the state has been evaluating capacity and occupancy of New York’s 50 prisons. A ‘scaling-down initiative’ is being eyed by the Hochul administration.

“My question is always about the workers who have made this their career,” Hochul told reporters. “I don’t live far from some of these facilities in upstate New York, my home, and I know it has an impact on the local economy.”

At this point there is no indication that select prisons will be closed. But it could indicate prospective change.

A compromise? Turning some of them into substance use disorder treatment facilities.

There are already-closed prisons in New York – like that in Butler, Wayne County – which is owned by the state still, but unused since the prison stopped operating there.

“These are buildings that I’m looking at the cost and also the opportunity associated with converting them to a different purpose,” Hochul added. “We don’t need as many prisons. The number of people incarcerated has gone down dramatically in our state. That’s something that is absolutely on the table and we are looking at right now.”