Governor Kathy Hochul’s latest budget proposal, part of a $233 billion plan, includes a contentious measure to close up to five state prisons within the next fiscal year. This initiative aims to enhance the efficiency of the correctional system by reducing excess capacity, allowing closures with just 90 days’ notice.
The proposal does not specify which of New York’s 44 prisons might be shuttered. This potential move follows the closure of six prisons in early 2022, with no additional closures in the subsequent two fiscal years.
The declining prison population, which has dropped by 54.9% since 1999, is a key factor driving the proposal. The Department of Corrections and Community Supervision reports that the closures since 2011 have led to the elimination of over 13,000 prison beds and $442 million in annual savings.
Before any closures can occur, the proposal must be included in the final state budget, which is under negotiation and aims to be finalized by April 1, marking the start of the 2024-25 fiscal year. The proposed legislation seeks to shorten the prison closure process from one year to three months.
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