Cuomo orders NY prison closing recommendations

| 22 Feb 2012 | 04:54

    ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered a study of New York’s minimum- and medium-security prisons to identify those that should close following a decade-long decline in crime rates and inmate populations and the diversion of more drug offenders to treatment programs. The task force will go to work 10 days after the Legislature approves corrections appropriations for the fiscal year that starts April 1. Cuomo said on Feb. 9 its recommendations are due to Commissioner Brian Fischer 30 days after that. It isn’t known when lawmakers will act. The state has closed five smaller facilities as the prison population dropped from 71,000 to 56,000. Fischer says there are still 3,500 excess beds among 67 facilities. The task force savings target is $72 million. The prison guards’ union disputes the count, saying it includes regular beds assigned to prisoners temporarily housed elsewhere.