Monday, January 31, 2011

Concentrate NYS Prison Closings Upstate

Governor Cuomo should not back down from his efforts to close some of New York State's upstate prisons. Nearly all of New York State's incarcerated individuals come from the New York City metro area, while those individuals are incarcerated far from New York City, reducing their contact with family and friends and reducing opportunities for healthy re-entry.

Cuomo Eloquent and Accurate on Prisons

Governor Andrew Cuomo was both eloquent and accurate when he stated his desire to close prisons and end the practice of incarcerating New York City residents in order to provide full prisons and employment in Upstate New York.
An incarceration program is not an employment program . . . Don't put other
people in prison in order to give some people jobs.

Unfortunately, New York State has spent thirty years incarcerating New York City residents in order to create jobs in areas far from New York City.

Ninety percent of those incarcerated in New York State on drug crimes are Black or Hispanic, even though 73% of those using illegal drugs in our state are neither Black or Hispanic. There has been a calculated effort to transfer voting power and economic opportunities to upstate communities through incarceration, and the practice should stop. With New York State facing more than ten billion dollars of deficits for each of the new few years, closing prisons helps close our budget gap while promoting productive citizenship for non-violent first-time offenders. The racial and regional discrimination represented by the current system must come to an end during the Andrew Cuomo years.

Healthier Prison Approach

Upstate Republicans are lobbying to keep their prisons and to have the Cuomo Administration close prisons in New York City. Governor Cuomo is reportedly considering closing fewer prisons than his original plan of up to 12 closings. He also is reportedly considering closing New York City prisons rather than prisons upstate.

Fewer closings and concentrated closings in New York City both represent the wrong approach.

By closing prisons in New York City, existing problems will be exacerbated. Given that prisoners come almost exclusively from New York City, having fewer prisons in New York City would result in even greater dislocation for those incarcerated as well as for their friends and families. Families of those incarcerated wish to visit and share experiences with prisoners, and moving prisons out of New York City will mean that even fewer families will be physically close enough to their incarcerated family members to visit regularly and inexpensively. The prisoners themselves have a healthier period of incarceration as well as a safer environment when they get regular visits from loved ones. The contact with the outside world promotes less traumatic re-entry and lower recidivism, thereby enhancing tax revenues for our city and our state while creating better lives for those seeking a second chance.

Governor Cuomo should both seek greater prison closings and concentrate those closings upstate. Our state's Republicans have benefited politically from the status quo - a system in which New York City residents and Black and Hispanic New Yorkers are sent to prison in large numbers in order to boost both the voting power and the economies of upstate communities.


  1. I agree that the prisons should be closed in the upstate region and not New York City. New York City offers more opportunity for re-entry of the inmate into society.

  2. The issue isn't just were the inmates are from but also the cost of incarcerating them. The small jails in NY are more expansive to run. Along with the fact that if you you moved The jails all to near NY, Yes the inmates would be close to there geographic home. Who is going to watch them in northern and western areas of the state Corrections Officers make good money. You take the same money to the city to try to live. Give the same employees a cardboard box they can't afford to live on that salary in NY. To this day almost all Corrections officers are hired from out west or up north and have to wait years to get transferred to a jail near home. If the money is so great and all these felons need to be near there home take the test, get hired, get divorced, die young, and don't forget have urine and feces thrown at you. THE JOB IS ALL YOUR!

  3. We don't owe anything to this bunch of upstate Republicans, except the back of our hand. For one thing, it appears that these upstate prisons are nothing but training grounds for recidivism and various other abhorrent forms of poor citizenship. For another, Republicans want low spending and low taxes. Closing these upstate prisons will help us cut state spending there and since the economy up there will go down, so will their taxes. Give these upstate Republicans the low spending and the low taxes they want - right between the eyes.

  4. Most inmates are better off away from their families and friends...some who just have not gotten caught yet! Leave them upstate where the fresh air might clear their brains out and make them realize city life gets them nothing but trouble.

  5. ok why should anyone convience the inmates in nys did they convience their victims i dont think so, how about the victims family from the murder or rape that the inmate committed... i say move all the jails upstate and close all of the jails in NYC down. the land up in the north and west are alot cheaper then in nyc thats for darn sure

  6. you hit the nail right on the head, when you said the inmates come from ny city. you cannot have it both ways, either keep jails all over the state so we all can benefit from the employment and return of our tax dollars to the local ecmony OR move all the jails to nyc (central park should do) and then take the five billion dollar dept of correction budget and have nycity residents pay it seeing how almost all inmates come from nyc

  7. by selling the FEW work release jail in nyc you can get almost $500 million for them, that would help pay for the deficit.


  9. Inmates are incarcerated BECAUSE they committed a crime and are being punished. They gave up the right to convenient family visits. Contact with the outside world DOES NOT promote healthier living. Recidivism is DUE to going back to their old ways and old gangs. Republicans incarcerating blacks & hispanics to get their votes is an absurd idea. Inmates should not be allowed to vote (period.) And Hispanics & Blacks historically vote for Democrats anyway (you know, the give me everything for free party?). And as one who lives & works upstate, yes, we like the jobs the prisons provide. The drawback is that the inmates' "families" move up here to be close to their incarcerated loved ones and then we end up with the dregs of society living up here when they all came from NYC. If you want 'em, you can keep 'em down there along with their criminal families.

  10. So we do have a consensus: we keep our lowlife downstate. As for you upstate losers not wanting to pay for prisons in NYC, you are SOL: anyone who is convicted of a criminal offense under state law must go to a state prison. Which means that you have to fork over. Personally, I'd say that we NYC residents will pay exclusively for prisons in the NYC Metro area so long as our state taxes are deducted accordingly.

    I am not worried about "living with the dregs": as a NYC resident, I do that already every day. I also live with the threat of terrorism, which does not bother me one bit.

    P.S.: I just learned that Buffalo is a mecca for collection agencies. I want Buffalo razed to the ground.

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