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Hochul stays focused on closing five more state prisons this year: How would it happen?

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  • Staff Report 

Governor Kathy Hochul’s latest budget plan includes the proposal to close five state prisons within New York, offering a 90-day notice period, a move aimed at addressing workforce shortages within the prison system. However, the Senate has proposed extending this timeline to 180 days, while the Assembly and several Republicans have expressed opposition, fearing the closures could exacerbate current strains on the correctional facilities’ capacity and worsen conditions for both staff and inmates.


Critics of the proposal, including Senator Tom O’Mara, argue that the focus should not solely be on workforce shortages but also on the adequacy of inmate management. Concerns have been raised that a 90-day notice is insufficient for corrections workers and their families to adjust to the changes. On the other hand, supporters, such as Senator Julia Salazar, point out the decrease in New York’s prison population and the existing poor conditions due to high staff vacancies.

The proposal is seen by some, including corrections advocates like Sumeet Sharma of the Correctional Association of New York, as a potential means to improve prison conditions by consolidating resources and enhancing services for incarcerated individuals. This comes after Governor Hochul’s closure of six prisons in 2022, signaling a significant shift in New York’s approach to its correctional system management.